Signs of a carbon monoxide leak

The potential for a carbon monoxide leak is a very real threat in every home. Being aware of the signs of carbon monoxide will play an important role in keeping you safe from this silent killer. There are numerous things you can do and ways you can educate yourself in order to be aware of the presence of carbon monoxide and help you take the right action in the event of a leak.

The safety of you and your family is vitally important to us and we want to help you keep safe in the home and protect yourselves from carbon monoxide.
First off, if you suspect that you may have a carbon monoxide leak in your property, call the National Gas Emergency number on 0800 111 999*.

 

How to know if there’s a carbon monoxide leak

Despite being colourless and odourless, there are still ways you can identify a carbon monoxide leak within your home. 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. If you experience any of the following, you should call a doctor:
  • Headaches
  •  Nausea
  •  Breathlessness
  • Collapse
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of consciousness
Other than the physical symptoms, some of the following signs can also mean carbon monoxide is present. These don’t mean it’s definitely a leak, but are worth being cautious of and getting checked out by a Gas Safe Registered engineer:
  •  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

What can cause a carbon monoxide leak in a house

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colourless, odourless and tasteless gas, so it’s difficult to detect. It’s produced when fuels including gas, oil, coal or wood don’t burn properly due to: 

●    An incorrectly fitted gas appliance 
●    A poorly maintained gas appliance 
●    A blocked flue, chimney or vent 
●    A disposable or gas BBQ that’s not properly extinguished (these should always be left outside once used)

Gas appliances which can omit carbon monoxide include: 
●    Free-standing gas heaters
●    Gas cookers
●    Gas fires
●    Boilers and water heaters

Carbon monoxide leak: What to do to protect yourself

As carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless it can be more difficult to know if you have a leak in your home. There are three simple steps you can take in order to safeguard you and your loved ones from the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, which are:
  1. Identify the danger. Knowing the symptoms and signs of a carbon monoxide leak plays a key role in identifying danger. 
  2. ​ Have your gas appliances serviced annually. Take note of all the gas appliances in your home and make sure they’re checked by a qualified Gas Safe Engineer annually. Keep a note of the date in your diary or smartphone as an extra precaution, so you don’t forget.
  3.  Fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm. Carbon monoxide alarms are available from most DIY shops and supermarkets. Always make sure they comply with British Standard Kitemark BS EN50291-1 (for home use) or BS EN50291-2 (caravans, camping and boats). Once you have one in place, make sure the batteries are always kept fresh. 
These three steps are relatively simple but could play a very important role in ensuring the safety of you and your family should there be a carbon monoxide leak in your home.

Knowing how to spot the signs of a carbon monoxide leak is the first step in keeping yourself and your loved ones safe from the threat of this silent killer. 

*All calls are recorded and may be monitored. Please only call the national gas emergency number 0800 111 999 if you have a gas emergency: if you smell gas or you suspect you have a carbon monoxide issue. If you have an issue with your gas boiler or any other gas appliance, please see this advice.