Carbon monoxide poisoning warning for homesGas leaks from faulty appliances can be fatal

14 September 2011

Householders are being warned of the dangers of badly fitted or poorly maintained gas appliances, which can lead to carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, as part of Gas Safety week.

More than 50 people died and more than 4,000 were taken to hospital due to CO poisoning over the past 12 months, according to official stats from the Department of Health. 

But the problem is believed to be even more widespread, as many people don't associate symptoms of low-level CO poisoning - which include cold, flu and general tiredness - with the gas.

Carbon monoxide warning

Faulty central heating systems, gas cookers and gas fires can all leak carbon monoxide. But because the gas has no taste, colour or smell it can be hard to detect without the help of a carbon monoxide detector, or via a regular professional service or safety check.

You should only use a Gas Safe registered engineer - ask to see an engineer's ID card to confirm they're properly accredited.

Despite the potential dangers, research from the Gas Safe Register found that 43% of people don't get their gas appliances regularly serviced. One in 10 said they had an appliance that had never been checked.

Gas safety appliance tips

Which? boilers expert Victoria Pearson says: 'Gas appliances - including gas boilers, ovens and freestanding cookers - should always be installed by a qualified professional on the Gas Safe Register.

'You should also keep gas appliances regularly serviced and safety checked to ensure they are operating correctly. We've got lots of advice on to help you keep your home safe, including simple boiler maintenance, how to get a good boiler service and whether a boiler servicing contract is worth investing in.'

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