Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless and poisonous gas. It can be produced by any appliance that burns any fossil fuel such as oil, turf, coal, gas or wood. At high levels it can kill in as little as 3 minutes. At lower levels it can cause illness. Carbon monoxide can be a risk in business just as easily as in a home setting.
If there is a lack of air for combustion, the appliance is faulty, installed incorrectly, poorly maintained or used incorrectly, carbon monoxide can be produced.
Watch out for any of the warning signs that an appliances is not functioning properly:
Other signs include:
If you or someone else on the premises is experiencing some of the described symptoms and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning then:
Ensure your appliances are installed and serviced annually by a Registered Gas Installer (or competent service agent for larger industrial/ commercial appliances), Registered Oil Technician or qualified service agent for your fuel type
Use carbon monoxide alarms but remember these are no substitute for regular inspection and maintenance of appliances, vents, flues and chimneys.
If installing domestic-type alarms, 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 appliances. Carbon monoxide alarms are also available from most hardware and DIY stores. Always install alarms as per the manufacturers’ instructions. Remember more than one alarm may be required to provide adequate protection.
Note: If installing alarms as part of a commercial alarm system, consult with your alarm provider.