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Coronavirus (COVID-19): updates and advice

Making your home safe - gas safety

Carbon monoxide

If you have a wood or coal burning fire, or gas or oil burning appliances such as a boiler, heater or cooker, you should have a carbon monoxide alarm.

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas produced when appliances do not burn properly. Even small amounts of carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems or even kill. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to a cold or flu and can include:

  • headaches
  • dizziness
  • nausea
  • breathlessness
  • collapse
  • loss of consciousness

A carbon monoxide detector will flash and sound an audible alarm if it detects carbon monoxide. You should install one in every room where there is a gas appliance, and the batteries usually last around five years. Carbon monoxide detectors are similar in design to smoke alarms and can be purchased from as little as £15 at many major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets. When you buy a carbon monoxide detector, make sure it has the Kitemark and European Standard number BS EN 50291.

If you think carbon monoxide is present, call the gas emergency number 0800 111 999


A Gas Safe registered engineer should check your gas appliances every year.

You may be able to receive a free gas safety check from your supplier if you receive means tested benefits and there is anyone in your household who:

  • has a disability
  • has a chronic illness
  • is of pensionable age
  • is blind or partially sighted
  • is deaf or hard of hearing
  • has another type of special need

If you live in rented accommodation, your landlord will need to arrange an annual gas safety check.

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