Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas which you can't see, taste or smell, but it can kill quickly and with no warning.
Where does it come from?
If your gas appliances are unsafe, they could produce carbon monoxide which is a highly poisonous gas. It can cause death as well as serious long-term health problems such as brain damage.
CO can be produced from appliances served by gas, wood, coal and oil. These are fuels which can be found in your home as they are used in boilers, open or gas fires, water heaters and solid fuel appliances.
CO becomes dangerous when it accumulates in a room as a result of poor ventilation or an appliance is not burning fuel properly. This can happen through wrong installation of the appliance, poor maintenance or damage.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
There are six main symptoms to look out for. They are:
- Loss of consciousness
The symptoms are similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections and general tiredness. Other signs to be aware of that could point to carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- Your symptoms only occur when you are at home.
- Your symptoms disappear or get better when you leave home and come back when you return.
- Others in your household are experiencing symptoms (including your pets) and they appear at a similar time.
You are especially at risk when you are asleep because you might not wake up and notice the symptoms.
What should I do if I think I have CO poisoning?
- Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.
- See your doctor immediately or go to hospital - let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.
- If you think there is immediate danger, call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999.
- Contact us and we will arrange for a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem
What can be done to reduce the risk?
We will carry out an annual check of all gas appliances that we provide for you as a tenant using fully-qualified engineers.
As a tenant you are responsible for your own appliances, such as your cooker. It is your responsibility to ensure that these are checked regularly. We would recommend that they are checked on an annual basis too. Make sure that your home is well ventilated and that airbricks and flues are not blocked and trickle vents are working properly.
Install a CO detector, either mains or battery powered which are available at all large DIY outlets and can be purchased for under £20.
Look out for the signs that an appliance in your home may be faulty:
- There is an orange or brown stain on the surface of the appliance or nearby, e.g. on the wall.
- On a gas appliance the flame is yellow or orange and is slow rather than a crisp blue flame that burns steadily.
- Pilot lights that frequently go out.
- You notice high levels of condensation in the room.