Every year about 30 people die from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained, whilst many others also suffer ill health.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning could be tiredness, drowsiness, headaches, dixxiness, chest pains.
When gas does not burn properly, as with other fuels such as coal, wood or oil, excess CO is produced which is poisonous.
You are at risk from CO poisoning if:
- Your appliance was poorly installed
- Your appliance in not working properly
- Your appliance has not been checked for safety or maintained regularly
- There is not enough fresh air in the room
- Your chimney or flue gets blocked up
- You allow non-gas safe registered engineers to install or maintain your appliance
If you are still worried, you can install a carbon monoxide detector alarm near the sleeping area of your home. This should comply with British Standard BS7860 but remember they are only warning devices.
If you notice any of these danger signs, stop using the appliance immediately:
- Staining, soot or discolouration of the appliance or surrounding areas
- A gas heater or boiler burning with a yellow or orange flame rather than its normal flame
If you smell gas:
- Turn off the gas supply at the meter
- Do not use matches or smoke
- Do not turn electrical switches on or off
- Open doors and windows
- Check the appliance to see if the gas has been left switched on
- If you think you have a gas leak call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
You can call at any time of the day or night. The call is free from landlines. Some mobile phone operators may charge you for the call.
Gas Safe Register
The Gas Safe Register is the only official list of gas engineers who are legally allowed to do work on your gas boiler, gas cooker and gas fire. The list is there to help protect you from unsafe gas work. It used to be known as CORGI. All gas engineers have to be Gas Safe registered by law.
You can find Gas Safe engineers on the Gas Safe Register website
You can check whether a gas engineer is Gas Safe registered by checking the engineer's ID card or calling the Gas Safe Register for free on 0800 408 5500
Free annual safety check and the Priority Services Register
You may be entitled to a free annual safety check of gas appliances if all of the adults in your home are eligible for the Priority Services Register.
The Priority Services Register is available to anyone who is:
- of pensionable age, or
- has a disability or chronic illness, or
- has a visual or hearing impairment
As well as the free safety check, by joining the Priority Service Register through your gas supplier you will be entitled to other services completely free of charge.
To find out more, contact your gas supplier. You will find their contact details on your bill.