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It's a good time to gas about carbon monoxide safety

Carbon Monoxide (or CO) is a poisonous gas with no smell or taste. It can make you feel unwell, and can even be life-threatening if it builds up.

A danger of not having your gas appliances checked regularly is that they can leak carbon monoxide (CO). Sometimes known as the ‘silent killer’, you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but it can be deadly. CO prevents oxygen from being absorbed by the body and can cause death in just minutes.

What causes carbon monoxide in the home?

CO is produced when fossil fuels, such as gas, oil, wood, coal, burn without enough oxygen.

Common household appliances used for heating and cooking can produce CO if they are not installed properly, are faulty, or are poorly maintained.

Appliances that can cause CO include:

  • Gas boilers
  • Gas cookers
  • Gas or paraffin heaters
  • Wood, gas and coal fires
  • Portable generators

Using barbeques or camping stoves inside, and turning on vehicle or lawn mower engines in your garage, can also cause a build-up of CO.

We check your gas appliances once a year to make sure they’re working properly and to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide. We’ve also installed CO detectors in all of our properties with gas appliances, which will sound if there’s a dangerous build-up of carbon monoxide in your home.

It's important to remember that while a CO alarm will protect from exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide, it will not sound for lower levels. An alarm should not be used as a substitute for regular servicing and maintenance of appliances. 

If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds...

  • Open all windows and doors
  • Turn off any electrical appliances and light switches

  • Evacuate your home immediately
  • Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999 to report the incident

  • Seek medical attention. You may not realise you've been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won't treat any exposure

  • Don't go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency service

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling or being sick
  • Feeling weak
  • Confusion
  • Chest and muscle pain
  • Shortness of breath

You can find out more about the symptoms and causes of carbon monoxide poisoning on the NHS website.

How to protect yourself from carbon monoxide


  • Check that you have a CO alarm for each room of your home that contains appliances that burn gas, oil, coal or wood – if not, let us know. 
  • Give us access to service your boiler each year
  • Give us access to clean any chimneys and flues
  • Make sure that your own gas appliances are properly installed by a qualified engineer and are well maintained. Make sure you get approval from us before installing a gas appliance


  • Use a barbeque or camping stove indoors, or inside a tent
  • Leave vehicles or other engines running inside garages
  • Block up ventilation grilles