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Carbon Monoxide the facts HTML Version

Booklet Title Carbon Monoxide the facts.


Section Title: Carbon Monoxide the facts.

carbon monoxide can occur with gas, oil, coal or other fuels

Section Title: what is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide, also known as CO, is a colourless, odourless gas that is highly dangerous. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a common yet preventable cause of death worldwide. Each year in Ireland there are one or two fatalities from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, caused by an appliance that burns fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal. Other significant causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are vehicle exhausts, smoke inhalation from fires, and incidents in industrial or commercial settings.

The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels is a source of carbon monoxide. In normal conditions the combustion process will cause the carbon in the fossil fuel to combine with oxygen in the air to produce carbon dioxide (CO2), the same substance we exhale when we breathe. However, if there is a lack of air for the combustion process or the appliance is faulty, carbon monoxide can be produced. Carbon Monoxide can also be produced by the natural decomposition of wood chips.

When carbon monoxide is inhaled into the body it combines with the blood, preventing it from absorbing oxygen. If a person is exposed to carbon monoxide over a period, it can cause illness and even death. Carbon monoxide is often called the 'silent killer' because you can't see or smell it.

For further information

Call: 1850 79 79 79

Visit: www.carbonmonoxide.ie

Section Title: Causes of carbon monoxide poisoning

Dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can accumulate at home as a result of any or a combination of the following:

Faulty or damaged heating appliances. Appliances not maintained or serviced. Rooms not properly ventilated. Blocked chimneys or flues. Poor installation of heating appliances. Property alterations or home improvements that reduce ventilation. Running engines such as vehicles or lawnmowers in garages. Improper operation of appliances such as using cooking appliances for heating purposes or the use of barbecues indoors or under cover. The operation of petrol driven mobile generators indoors. The bulk storage of wood chips, such as those used for wood chip heating systems.


Carbon Monoxide can also occur in mobile homes, caravans, boats and holiday homes, in fact, anywhere where fuel is burnt. 

Section Title: symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illnesses such as a cold or flu and may include headaches, chest pains, sickness, diarrhoea, dizziness and general lethargy.

If you or your family experience any of these symptoms and you believe carbon monoxide may be involved, you should ask your doctor to check for carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you find a person ill or unconscious and suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, ventilate the area immediately by opening windows and doors.


Stop using any fuel burning appliance immediately and do not use again until the appliance has been checked by a Registered Gas Installer, Registered Oil Technician or a qualified service agent.

Section Title: Safety Precautions

Subtitle: Safety Advice

Ensure your appliances are installed and serviced annually by a Registered Gas Installer, Registered Oil Technician or qualified service agent for your fuel type. Make sure room vents are not blocked and there is adequate ventilation. Keep flues and chimneys unblocked. Make sure all chimneys are regularly swept and kept clear. Use appliances only for the PURPOSE for which they were designed, e.g. do not use a cooker to heat a room. If you suspect an appliance may be faulty, stop using it immediately and arrange for a safety inspection. Ensure adequate ventilation in bulk storage facilities for wood chips.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Use carbon monoxide alarms but remember these are no substitute for regular inspection and maintenance of appliances, vents, flues and chimneys. Check that the carbon monoxide alarm complies with European Standard EN 50291 and carries both the CE mark and a mark of independent certification. Ensure that the alarm has an 'end-of-life' indicator. Some Registered Gas Installers will supply and fit carbon monoxide alarms in addition to servicing your appliance/s. Carbon monoxide alarms are also available from most hardware and D.I.Y. stores. Always install alarms as per the manufacturers' instructions. Remember more than one alarm may be required to provide adequate protection.

Section Title: Safety precautions

Subtitle: Home Alterations

When adding an extension, converting a garage, double-glazing or weather-sealing doors, you should always consider the ventilation requirements for your appliances. Particular restrictions apply where a living space is to be used as a bedroom or a bathroom. For professional advice on your appliances before embarking on home alterations contact your fuel supplier.

Know the Danger Signs

Watch out for any of the warning signs that your appliance is not functioning properly:

Staining, sooting or discolouration around the appliance. Condensation on walls/windows. A strange smell when the appliance is on. Flu-like symptoms, such as drowsiness or headaches. A yellow or orange flame where normally blue for a gas appliance.

Section Title: Advice on appliances

Deal with a reputable outlet when purchasing appliances. LPG or natural gas appliances should always carry the CE mark. Read instruction manuals carefully for your appliance. If you are moving house, leave the instruction manual for any appliance you are not taking with you. Service appliances annually to make sure they are working safely and efficiently.

If you are concerned that an appliance is not operating safely, or your appliances are not in good condition, arrange to have a safety inspection carried out.

Carbon monoxide appliance safety notifications are published on www.carbonmonoxide.ie


Ensure your appliances are installed and serviced annually by a Registered Gas Installer, Registered Oil Technician or qualified service agent for your fuel type.

Section Title: contact information

For Natural Gas Appliances Contact a Registered Gas Installer (RGI). Local listings can be found at www.rgii.ie or by contacting RGII on 1850 454 454.

For LPG Appliances Contact your fuel supplier or visit www.ilpga.ie

For Solid Fuel Appliances Contact your fuel provider.

For Oil Appliances Contact a qualified technician such as an OFTEC Registered Technician on (01) 8645771 or visit www.oftec.org

For further information call: 1850 79 79 79 or Visit: www.carbonmonoxide.ie

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