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Carbon monoxide awareness

You can't see it. You can't smell it. You can't taste it. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas that is released when any fossil fuel burns. It can be omitted from everyday household appliances, like a poorly maintained or faulty boiler or gas cooker.

Despite being colourless and odourless, there are still ways you can identify a carbon monoxide leak within your home.

What are the signs?

There are some symptoms that might feel similar to either a viral infection (such as cold or flu) or tiredness, however if these disappear when you leave the house there’s a chance it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. Call a doctor if you experience:

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

If you see any of these signs, get your property checked by a Gas Safe Registered engineer immediately:

  • Gas flame on an appliance appears ‘floppy’ and burns orange or yellow as opposed to blue
  • Your pilot light frequently blows out or has a ‘floppy’ flame
  • Soot or yellow-brown staining around an appliance
  • Seeing or smelling smoke
  • Having excessive condensation in a room with a gas appliance

Staying safe

Follow our simple ABC checklist to keep yourself and your family #COsafe.

  • Alarm: Fit an alarm
  • Batteries: Test it regularly and make sure the batteries are working
  • Check: Have an up-to-date gas check.

And remember, look out for:

  • Gas appliances that are burning with a floppy yellow or orange flame that is normally crisp and blue
  • Extra condensation inside windows
  • Pilot lights on boilers frequently blowing out
  • Soot or yellow stains around appliances

All these could be signs of a problem. You should get your appliances serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer.

Get an audible CO alarm which is certified to British Standard BS EN 50291 which can be purchased from your local DIY store, supermarket or energy supplier. Make sure it’s in the correct position too!

Remember, alarms are important but they're not a substitute for annual gas safety checks.

Safety Seymour

Safety Seymour, a superhero bear from outer space is on a mission to teach children and their families about CO and how to protect themselves, making homes safer. Check the website for details on the latest competition.