This is how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home

Worried about carbon monoxide poisoning from an old boiler or gas fire? Reduce your risk and stay safe with these tips on how to stop the 'silent killer' from striking

Carbon monoxide poisoning: Man fixing boiler
(Image credit: Boiler Plan)

You've heard of the 'silent killer', but what have you done to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home? It's a well-known fact that the poisonous gas can easily infiltrate a house without anyone's knowledge because there's no odour.

Around 60 people are killed by carbon monoxide each year. And sadly, the UK fire services have revealed over the last few weeks that carbon monoxide poisonings rose from 2,450 incidents in 2014 to 3,249 in the last 12 months – that's an increase of 32 per cent.

The early symptoms include dizziness, sickness, tiredness and stomach pain, while long-term exposure can lead to loss of consciousness and impact coordination and heart health. Called the 'silent killer', it's scentless and tasteless, so you won't notice it's there, unless you read the symptoms properly.

However, because carbon monoxide often comes from fuel that doesn't burn properly – like in badly-fitted or poorly-maintained appliances – there are some easy fixes you can do to protect yourself and your family.

Boiler Plan, specialists in the installation, service and repair of boilers, have put together four essential tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, under the easy-to-remember acronym SAFE. And we approve. They are:

Service: Service and maintain appliances regularly. Use a reputable and registered engineer to install and maintain boilers, cookers, heating systems and other appliances.

Alarm: Install a carbon monoxide alarm to alert you to the early signs of the gas and prevent long-term exposure. You can get them online at Amazon and B&Q among others.

Flu like symptoms: If you think someone could be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning, ask them how they feel. Symptoms can feel like flu with one key difference: carbon monoxide poisoning doesn't cause a high temperature. Seek medical attention if you suspect a leak and feel unwell.

Extractor fan: Use an extractor fan while cooking to reduce the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Ian Henderson, founder and managing director of Boiler Plan, says, 'We recommend purchasing and installing a carbon monoxide alarm as they can save lives and they are so affordable. We’d also highly recommend getting your boiler and gas appliances serviced annually by a gas safe registered engineer – this is a required qualification by law for anyone who works with gas. Listen to professionals, get protected and stay safe.'

Ellen Finch
Former deputy editor

Formerly deputy editor of Real Homes magazine, Ellen has been lucky enough to spend most of her working life speaking to real people and writing about real homes, from extended Victorian terraces to modest apartments. She's recently bought her own home and has a special interest in sustainable living and clever storage.