What is carbon monoxide? 

Carbon monoxide (CO) is produced when carbon fuels don’t burn completely. This gas is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because it is invisible, odourless, poisonous and can kill quickly. 

We’re raising awareness of the dangers of CO, sharing advice on how to make sure your home is safe – get in touch with us for more information. 

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous? 

Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless and highly poisonous. Because you can’t see it, taste it or smell it, it is highly dangerous and in certain conditions can kill quickly and without warning. 

Symptoms of CO poisoning include: 

  • Headaches 
  • Nausea 
  • Dizziness 
  • Breathlessness 
  • Collapse
  • Loss of consciousness 

If you’re concerned there is CO present in your home, or notice symptoms of CO poisoning, contact the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 immediately.  

How is carbon monoxide produced?

Carbon monoxide can be produced if gas appliances are not working correctly, such as:

  • Boilers
  • Gas or open fires
  • Water heating systems
  • Cookers
  • Central heating

Flues or chimneys becoming blocked can also lead to CO poisoning. 

How to spot the signs of carbon monoxide 

The best way to make sure you’re protected is to install a CO detector and get coal, oil and natural gas appliances checked annually by a qualified professional. 

Signs of carbon monoxide include: 

  • Yellow and orange flames – flames should be crisp and blue 
  • Staining, sooting or discoloration on appliances 
  • Increased condensation 
  • Pilot light blowing out frequently 

What is a carbon monoxide alarm? 

Carbon monoxide detectors alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in the air by flashing a light and sounding an alarm. If you’re a private tenant, your landlord should supply a CO alarm for each room containing a solid fuel appliance.

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