Carbon monoxide safety

What's carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas given off by faulty gas, coal or oil appliances. You can't see it, smell it, or taste it – and each year it kills around 30 people.

You can get carbon monoxide poisoning if you have leaking appliances, or if your room isn't correctly ventilated, for example, your chimney or gas flue is blocked.


Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning


  • Get your gas appliances checked each year by a Gas Safe™ registered engineer.

  • If an appliance is unsafe or condemned, contact a Gas Safe™ registered engineer to repair or replace it.

  • Make sure your home is correctly ventilated – never block vents or flues.

  • Get chimneys and flues regularly swept and kept clear and clean.

  • Buy a carbon monoxide detector, available in hardware stores and some supermarkets, that complies with EN50291.


What are the danger signs?

  • Flames that burn orange or yellow, instead of blue, on your appliance.

  • Sooty stains on, or just above, your appliances.

  • Solid fuel appliances that burn slowly, or go out.

  • You might have flu-like symptoms, although this isn't always the case.


If you have any of the following symptoms that get better when you leave home, switch off your appliances and see a doctor immediately:

  • Drowsiness.

  • Headaches.

  • Chest pains.

  • Sudden giddiness when standing up.

  • Sickness.

  • Diarrhoea and stomach pains.


Back to energy emergency contact page.