Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, taste or smell. Fuel burning appliances such as st​oves, fires, boilers and water heaters can produce carbon monoxide if they are incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained or if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.

Gas, oil and solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood can all produce carbon monoxide.

Too many people die needlessly or become seriously ill because of carbon monoxide poisoning each year, early symptoms can easily be mistaken for flu or tiredness. 

Dehhumidifier drying out damp

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms

  • Headaches
  • Nausea (feeling sick)
  • Dizziness 
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapsing
  • Loss of consciousness

Symptoms are similar to the flu, food poisoning, viral infections and tiredness.  It can be easy to mistake the symptoms for something less serious.

If you experience symptoms or your CO alarm sounds:

  • Switch off the pump or generator,
  • Open doors and windows,
  • Get fresh air immediately
  • Leave the house
  • Call the emergency services
  • Seek medical advice, if feeling unwell

How to stay safe

Carbon monoxide is produced when certain fuels are not properly burnt. This includes gas, oil and solid fuels such as coal, coke and wood. Carbon monoxide can also seep into properties via shared flues or chimneys and can even permeate through brick walls and plaster.

You are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if:

  • Your fuel burning appliance was incorrectly or badly installed
  • Your appliance has not been safety checked and serviced annually
  • Your chimney or flue is blocked or has not been swept regularly
  • There is no audible carbon monoxide alarm fitted and working in your home


Download our Safety Advice Booklet

Further safety advice

For information on how to fit a carbon monoxide alarm visit the Be Alarmed website. 

For advice on protection from carbon monoxide poisoning from your appliances visit the Be Alarmed website.

For advice on recognising the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning visit the Be Alarmed website.

For advice on why you should never block ventilation to fires and stoves visit the Be Alarmed website.