Unsafe gas appliances or poorly ventilated solid fuel fires produce a highly poisonous gas called carbon monoxide (CO).

You cannot see, taste or smell carbon monoxide, but it can cause death as well as serious long-term health problems such as brain damage.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • Tiredness/drowsiness
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea

Signs of carbon monoxide in your home

The following could be signs that your home has carbon monoxide:

  • Gas flames that burn orange or yellow: flames should be blue
  • Sooty stains around appliances, open fires or wood burners
  • Appliances that are difficult to light
  • Flames that burn slowly or go out

What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide

If you think your appliance is unsafe, you should stop using it immediately. Make sure you ventilate the room and seek advice from a Gas safe registered engineer. If you are concerned about your open fire or wood burner, please consult a specialist who can carry out testing to ensure that it is safe to use.

How carbon monoxide occurs

Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of fuel. It can happen when a gas or solid fuel appliance is:

  • Incorrectly fitted
  • Badly repaired, or
  • Poorly maintained

It can also happen if a chimney or vent is blocked, so never block vents.

It is recommended that you have a carbon monoxide detector in any room where you have gas appliances, an open fire or wood burner.


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