Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide gas can't be seen, smelt or tasted but is extremely toxic. It can be produced via unsafe gas appliances and cause death as well as long term health problems like brain damage.
What to look out for
There are a number of signs to look out for:
- Short of breath
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms are commonly associated with other illnesses such as flu, food poisoning or even just tiredness, so it's vitally important that you are aware that any of these signs could be brought on from something as serious as a carbon monoxide leak.
Also be aware of the following if any of the symptoms are experienced:
- The symptoms only happen in the house. They disappear when you are away from home but reappear when you get back.
- Other people in the house are experiencing the symptoms (even pets) at the same time.
What to do when I experience any of the symptoms
- Open doors and windows immediately to get a flow of fresh air circulating around the property
- Turn off all gas appliances
- Leave the property
- Go to a doctor or hospital and let them know that you think you've had carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Get your gas appliances and flues inspected by an accredited Gas Safe engineer.
IF YOU THINK YOU ARE IN IMMEDIATE DANGER, CALL THE GAS EMERGENCY SERVICES ON 0800 111 999.
How to spot a potential carbon monoxide leak
- Cooker flame should be crisp blue. If it is orange or lazy yellow then your appliance needs to be checked.
- Brown/yellow staining or soot accumulated in or around your appliances.
- An increase in condensation inside your windows.
Any fault gas appliance you have may lead to carbon monoxide poisoning so it's vital that you get it checked out.
Carbon monoxide detectors
Since carbon monoxide is invisible, odourless and tasteless a carbon monoxide detector is strongly recommended, as it will emit an audio alarm when there is a leak.
Black spot detectors are also available which change colour when there is a leak. However, they are not recommended, as they are ineffective in warning you of a leak when you are asleep.
Carbon Monoxide detectors can be purchased from your local DIY store and are easy to install. The detector you buy must be approved to EN 50291 standards and bear the markings of European or British approval.