Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide - The Effects and How to Protect Yourself

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide (or CO as it may be known) is a highly poisonous gas. It is practically undetectable by our 5 senses as it has no taste, colour, smell, visual evidence and it can't be felt. CO is formed when carbon such as gas, coal, wood or oil is burned and there is not enough air supply. CO can leak from household appliances such as gas boilers, fires and stoves if they are not installed or maintained properly.

What are the effects of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

On average, 20 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances every year. CO affects the human body by starving blood cells of oxygen and the effects of CO poisoning can often be mistaken with symptoms such as the flu, nausea, dizziness and general lethargy. The early symptoms of CO poisoning are:

  • Tiredness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breathlessness
  • Stomach Pains
  • Visual


How can Carbon Monoxide leaks be prevented?

The simplest way to prevent CO leaks is to ensure all your gas appliances are installed properly and maintained by a Corgi Registered Company. However, if you suspect that CO has leaked into your home, switch off the gas appliance and the gas supply (if you know where it is) and open all doors and windows to ventilate the room. If you think that you exhibit any of the symptoms above and suspect that you have been exposed to a large amount of CO, visit your GP urgently.

Is it recommended to have a Carbon Monoxide alarm?

The HSE (Health and Safety Executive) recommend the use of an audible CO alarm as a back-up precaution. However, this is not to be used as a substitute for regular maintenance and the proper installation of gas appliances by a CORGI registered installer. The main benefit of an audible alarm over a CO spot detector is that it provides you with a warning even when your asleep and this is the time you are most vulnerable to CO poisoning. Having an audible alarm could wake you up and save your life.

For a list of Carbon Monoxide alarms currently available, view SD Fire Alarms range of Carbon Monoxide Alarms

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