Carbon Monoxide – The Facts

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Many of us have heard about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how it is caused, but are you really aware of just how prevalent and dangerous it really can be?

Could you recognise the signs of CO poisoning? Do you know the regulations surrounding CO Alarms in your property whether rented or owned? New information and date released throughout 2017 has highlighted some staggering facts.

  • Nearly half (46%) of the nation’s homes currently don’t have a CO alarm.

This could mean there are around 12 million homes that are at risk of CO poisoning

  • 4000 people each year go to emergency departments with CO poisoning symptoms. Around 50 people each year die as a result of CO poisoning.

It is estimated that these such CO related issues cost around £178 million per year in health costs.

  • Data has shown that there have been increases in the number of children with symptoms and that the older population are more at risk.

With information also showing that around 1 in 3 renters not having an alarm could your family be at risk?

With this data in mind, it is important that homeowners, landlords and tenants alike are aware of the signs, symptoms, causes of CO poisoning and the regulations that surround CO Alarms.

CO is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels. These fuels include Gas (& LPG), Oil, and Solid Fuels such as wood and coal.

Known as the ‘Silent Killer’, CO is colourless, odourless and tasteless and therefore you would have no idea it was present (without a CO alarm!) Knowing the symptoms is key:

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

These symptoms can be very similar to other illnesses such as colds and flu and therefore are often attributed to that. Other signs to look out for could be:

  • Symptoms lessen or disappear when leaving the property
  • Other family members and pets experiencing similar illnesses or symptoms.

If you suspect that you may be suffering with CO poisoning it is essential you seek medical advice as soon as possible.

  • Get fresh air to the property by opening doors and windows.
  • Switch off the appliance if safe to do so
  • Arrange for an engineer to inspect the appliance and complete the necessary repairs to get it working satisfactorily and install a CO alarm.

What are the regulations surrounding CO Alarms in your property?

New regulations were introduced in October 2015. Private landlords are required by law to have a Co alarm installed in any room within their property that contains a solid fuel burning appliance, (e.g. Wood burner or Coal Fire). These alarms can be battery operated or hard-wired. Landlords must ensure these alarms are in full working order and in date at the start of each new tenancy.

Local authorities will enforce these regulations and fines of up £5000 can be issued if they are not adhered too.

You can find out more here:

Although currently the regulations only apply to rental properties and solid fuel burning appliances – It is strongly recommended from other industry governing bodies such as Gas Safe and Oftec that private homeowner also follow these process for their own gas, oil or solid fuel burning appliances.

CO alarms are available from as little as £10 and can easily be purchased in DIY stores or even some supermarkets. Please just ensure it has the British standard Kite mark or a European approval Organisations mark.

Blue Flame also offer and install both battery and CO alarms and can do so alongside any service, repair or installation visit. Please just contact us to arrange this.

If you are worried about any of your appliances or would just like some more information please contact our friendly team on Freephone 0800 074 9132.

Information sourced from: