Detecting a carbon monoxide leak

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Carbon monoxide poisoning can make you very unwell and can kill quickly without warning. Carbon monoxide is often referred to as the silent killer as you can’t taste, smell or see it.

A leak can be very difficult to detect and so it’s important to be aware of the signs so you can act early and get to safety.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that can make you seriously ill if you breathe it in. It can be made by fires and appliances that burn gas, oil or coal.

How to check your appliances are safe

Look out for the following signs that could indicate a gas appliance is not working correctly:

  • Floppy yellow or orange flame on your gas hob, rather than a crisp blue flame
  • Dark, sooty staining on or around your gas appliances
  • Increased condensation inside windows
  • The boiler pilot keeps going out.

What are the signs of a carbon monoxide leak?

If you’re suffering from any of the following symptoms but feel better when you’re outside, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapsing
  • Unconsciousness.

What to do in the event of a carbon monoxide leak

If you experience the above symptoms, make sure you get fresh air immediately. Turn off gas appliances, open all your windows and doors, leave the house and contact your GP.

If you feel there is immediate danger, call the gas emergency helpline on 0800 111 999.

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