Carbon monoxide, also known as CO and "the silent killer" is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas produced in dangerous amounts when carbon based fuel like wood, coal, oil or gas are burned without a sufficient air supply.
Common sources of carbon monoxide are:
- Defective gas appliances,
- Blocked chimneys and flues,
- Portable fuel burning heaters,
- Barbeques used in confined spaces.
Today's modern, energy efficient, airtight home designs can contribute to the problem by trapping CO polluted air inside the home. There are warning signs to look out for:
- A gas boiler flame that normally burns blue, burning orange or yellow instead.
- Sooty stains on or just above an oil or gas appliance,
- Coal or wood fires that burn slowly or go out.
Carbon monoxide can kill in minutes. When you inhale CO, it prevents the body from absorbing oxygen, causing oxygen starvation leading to severe damage and even death. Symptoms of CO poisoning are:
- Flu symptoms without a fever,
- Headaches, (tightness across the forehead)
- Sleepiness or confusion.
If you are suffering these symptoms, put out your fire or turn off the appliance, ventilate your home and seek medical attention.
If you live in private rented accommodation your landlord is obliged to maintain any gas appliances under the Gas Safety (Installation and Use) Regulations. If you are concerned that your gas appliances have not had an annual check contact Housing Standards on 01785 619000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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