Carbon monoxide

Unsafe gas appliances that have been badly fitted or repaired can produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO).

Blocked flues, chimneys and vents as well as burning oil and solid fuels such as coal, wood and petrol can also create carbon monoxide.

You can’t see it, taste it or smell it but carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems and even death. Be aware of the six main symptoms:

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

If somebody in your household (including pets) experiences any of these symptoms, leave the house and contact National Grid immediately on 0800 111 999. You should see your doctor or go to hospital and let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

To prevent carbon monoxide exposure, check your home for these signs:

  • The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue, not lazy yellow or orange.
  • Dark staining around or on appliances.
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out.
  • Increased condensation inside windows.

While fitting an audible carbon monoxide alarm will alert you to carbon monoxide in your home, it is no substitute for having an annual gas safety check and regular servicing by a Gas Safe registered engineer.