Information and Training
Carbon Monoxide Safety
Your gas appliances, including your boiler, oven, hob and gas fire, should be serviced annually, in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions, to ensure they are working safely and efficiently. It’s rather like giving your car an annual service to make sure it is safe to drive.
An annual service is a good way to check that your appliance is working correctly, and can help to reduce the risk of breakdowns and potential safety hazards.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels including gas, oil, wood and coal used in boilers, engines, oil burners, gas fires, water heaters, gas ovens, solid fuel appliances and open fires.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
The most common symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, nausea and feeling tired or confused – in fact, very similar symptoms to those of flu.
However, if you find your symptoms improve or go away when you are away from home, and get worse when you return, and if everyone else in the home, including pets, is also experiencing the same symptoms, you may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning and should see your GP immediately.
The Gas Safe Register website can provide comprehensive advice on carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide alarm
Carbon monoxide is colourless, odourless and tasteless, so the easiest way to detect it is by using a good quality audible carbon monoxide alarm.
For you and your family’s safety, it is advisable to fit a carbon monoxide alarm in each room in your home that has a gas appliance.
The Gas Safe Register recommends the use of an audible carbon monoxide alarm rather than one that changes colour when carbon monoxide is present. It is important that it will alert you straight away or wake you up if you are asleep. The alarm should be marked with British Standard EN 50291, and a British or European approval mark such as the Kitemark.
It is also advisable to use carbon monoxide alarms that have a battery life of five years.
Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm is not a substitute for having your appliances regularly serviced. Smoke alarms do not detect carbon monoxide.
Don’t forget to take a portable audible carbon monoxide alarm on holiday with you. Protecting the family when away is often overlooked in the rush to pack the family suitcases.
Sources of carbon monoxide in the home
Carbon monoxide is produced in homes when there is inadequate ventilation as a result of accumulation in chimneys, or vents and flues. It can also be produced if gas appliances, such as heaters, fires and boilers, malfunction.
Simple Safety steps
Simple steps to help you with prevent the possible dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Ensure your gas appliances are installed by a Gas Safe registered heating engineer
- Make sure your gas appliances are serviced annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer. heateam, the service division of BDR Thermea, can carry out a thorough annual service on your Remeha appliances using one of our Gas Safe registered heateam engineers
- Do not block any purpose provided ventilation
- If you are having doubts about the installation of a gas appliance, or you want to check one that is not working, contact a Gas Safe registered installer
- Purchase and install an audible carbon monoxide alarm for added peace of mind. This should not, however, be used as a substitute for regular appliance servicing
- Remember that if you live in rented accommodation, your landlord must – by law – provide you with written evidence that a Gas Safe registered installer has safety-checked the appliances within the last 12 months
- Check on the Gas Safe Register website to see if you are entitled to a free gas safety check
Further information and useful links:
- Gas Safe Register
- Gas Emergency Helpline
- Gas Safety Trust
- Health and Safety Executive
- Carbon Monoxide Consumer Awareness Alliance (COCAA)
- NHS Direct