Protect yourself from Carbon Monoxide

Educate yourself and your family on the risks of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide safety

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Often referred to as the 'silent killer', carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is colourless, odourless and tasteless. On average, 30 people in the UK die every year from CO poisoning, with many more suffering from its symptoms. Here's how you can protect yourself and your family.

Causes of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels, such as gas (mains or LPG), coal, oil, coke and wood. Gas fires, stoves, heating boilers, gas-powered water heaters, paraffin heaters and solid fuel-powered water heaters are all potential sources of CO.

Causes of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is formed by the incomplete combustion of carbon-containing fuels, such as gas (mains or LPG), coal, oil, coke and wood. Gas fires, stoves, heating boilers, gas-powered water heaters, paraffin heaters and solid fuel-powered water heaters are all potential sources of CO.

CO can be produced:

  • If an appliance isn’t working or properly installed
  • If an appliance hasn’t been properly maintained or regularly serviced
  • If your living area has inadequate ventilation
  • If the chimney or flue is blocked
  • If non-Gas Safe registered engineers are used to install or maintain appliances
Warning signs

The warning signs include:

  • Yellow or brown staining on or around the appliance
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • Increased condensation inside windows
  • Yellow rather than blue flame (apart from flueless fires)
  • Frequent headaches, nausea or dizziness when an appliance is in use

If you suspect carbon monoxide you should:

  • Switch off the appliance IMMEDIATELY
  • Open all doors and windows
  • Increased condensation inside windows
  • Yellow rather than blue flame (apart from flueless fires)
How to avoid issues with carbon monoxide
  • Invest in an audible carbon monoxide detector
  • Don’t buy second-hand appliances
  • Choose appliances that meet British or European safety standards
  • Get a Gas Safe registered engineer, such as CalorForce, to install and check new appliances
  • Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Have appliances serviced annually
  • Keep portable heaters clear of furniture, bedclothes and curtains
  • Don’t use portable heaters for drying clothes
  • Make sure your living space has adequate ventilation
Ignited LPG leakages
  • Cut off or reduce the supply of fuel at source, wherever possible
  • Call the fire brigade immediately and tell them that LPG is involved
Gas failure
  • Check the contents indicator and pressure gauge on the tank, if fitted
  • Turn off the gas tap at each appliance
  • Shut all the valves on the tank/cylinders and the emergency control valve outside your home by turning them clockwise
Damaged LPG vessels
  • Restrict access to the area
  • Close available valves to isolate the vessel
  • Limit the pressure by spraying with water until the damage can be assessed

Further information

You can find further information on carbon monoxide safety and awareness on the Gas Safe register website

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