7 things you should tell your customers about CO safety

Accidental (and therefore preventable) carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for around 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations each year in the UK.

See what you need to know to reduce the risk of being poisoned by the deadly gas carbon monoxide:

1. The silent killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that has no colour, smell or taste. If you are exposed to a high amount of CO gas for a long time you may become sick, unconscious, suffer brain damage, or in very severe cases, even die.

2. Look for the HETAS logo when employing an installerHETAS_hri

Have your appliance installed by a registered competent installer. They will make sure that work carried out complies with Building Regulations and will give you advice on how to use your appliance.

Using an appliance that is poorly maintained, incorrectly installed or using poor quality fuel will significantly increase the risk of the appliance producing CO.

3. Burn the correct fuel in the appliance

If your appliance burns wood, make sure the wood is seasoned and dry.

Not sure where to source quality fuel from? Click here to find HETAS Quality Assured Fuel suppliers in your area.

4. Have your chimney swept at regular intervals

Ensure your chimney is kept clear by having it swept at frequent intervals by a member of the National Association of Chimney Sweeps, APICS or the Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps.

5. Carbon monoxide alarms

CO alarm with digital display

CO alarm with digital display

CO alarms provide the only warning of dangerous CO gases in your home. Most commonly, the main source of CO gas in your home is your boiler, but of course you should monitor any household appliances which run on fossil fuels, like natural gas and propane.

If you wish to not only receive a warning in case of excessive carbon monoxide but an actual readout, even at low CO levels, chose a digital CO alarm.

6. Quality matters

When buying a Carbon Monoxide alarm, look for a product that has been made and properly tested and approved to the latest British or European Standard (BS Kitemark or EN50291).

7. What to do if your CO alarm goes off

If you or anyone in your house experiences the symptoms of CO poisoning or your CO alarm goes off, you should leave your house and:

  • Call the gas emergency number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident,or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
  • Don’t go back into the property – wait for advice from the emergency services
  • Seek immediate medical help – you may not realise you’ve been affected by the carbon monoxide, and going outside into fresh air won’t treat any exposure by itself