Safety Advice


Carbon Monoxide

What is it:

Carbon monoxide or (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Carbon-based fuels are safe to use. It is only when the fuel does not burn properly that excess CO is produced, which is poisonous.When CO enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but CO can kill quickly without warning. 20 people die from CO poisoning each year caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health if breathed in over a long period. In extreme cases paralysis and brain damage can be caused as a result of prolonged exposure to CO. Increasing public understanding of the risks of CO poisoning and taking sensible precautions could dramatically reduce this risk.

what steps should be taken to avoid CO poisoning:

- Be sure that all gas appliances are installed, maintained and serviced by a Gas Safe registered professional and carry's the relavent qualifications to work on your appliances. (click to see example card)

- Do not block air vent, they may be vital for your gas appliance to perform saftley.

- Keep any chimneys swept each year by a qualified sweep.

- Have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm installed.

What are the signs of CO poisoning

The early symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can be similar to many common ailments and can easily be confused with cold like symptoms / flue / fatigue or food poisoning. Symptoms to look out for are:

- Drowsiness
- Tiredness 

- Headaches 
- Nausea 
- Vomiting 
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pains 
- Stomach pains
- Sight/visual problems

What to look out for

- Yellow or brown staining around, or on appliances
- Pilot lights that frequently blow out
- Increased condensation inside windows
- Yellow rather than blue flame (apart from flueless fires

If you think you are at risk from CO poisoning

- Switch off the appliance and do not reuse until remedial action has been taken
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room - do not sleep in it
- Visit your GP urgently and tell them that you believe your symptoms may be related to CO poisoning and request either a blood and/or breath sample.

Contact a Gas Safe registered installer to make repairs



What to do if you smell of gas

Call 0800 111 999

You will not be charged, it is a free service, you will be asked questions and be given guidence.


After the gas escape has be sealed you should then if advised to call your Gas Safe registered engineer, make sure the the enineer who calls is licenced to work on your type of appliance or pipe work.



More commonly asked question to come, feel free to request.