Carbon Monoxide Awareness

Carbon Monoxide is a highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of fossil fuels, including gas, oil, wood, petrol and coal.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer. This is because you cannot see it, hear it, smell it or taste it.

Where does it come from?

The most common source of CO in a home is from a faulty or broken gas heating system; however, there are other sources too. If your system is working correctly, carbon monoxide will not be a risk.

Other sources can include:

  • Fireplaces or wood-burning stoves
  • Gas ovens
  • Camping Stoves
  • Using a BBQ indoors
  • Portable heaters


Staying safe at home

Here are 3 important steps to take to ensure you’re safe at home.

1 – Ensure you have a working CO alarm

Every room with a gas or fossil fuel appliance should have a CO alarm fitted. They should be tested regularly and replaced when faulty.

You can buy CO detectors in most DIY stores or supermarkets. A fire alarm is not a CO alarm.


2 – Appliances should be checked once per year

All your gas appliances should have an annual safety check carried out on them by a registered Gas Safe engineer. You should ALWAYS use a gas-safe engineer to repair, check and install your appliances.


3 – Be aware of the symptoms of CO poisoning

Symptoms of CO poisoning can include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Collapse & loss of consciousness

Symptoms may disappear when you leave the home, and reappear when you return. If you believe you may have been poisoned by CO you should go straight to the hospital.


Signs of CO

You should also be aware of potential signs there may be a CO leak in your property.

  • All flames on gas appliances should be crisp and blue. If you see a yellow or orange lazy flame you should contact a Gas Safe engineer.
  • Look out for signs of soot or staining around an appliance
  • An increase in condensation particularly around gas appliances
  • A pilot light blows out frequently.


What steps should I take if I believe CO is present in my property?

If you are worried about CO, you should:

  • Open all doors and windows
  • Move everyone out of the home and into fresh air
  • Contact the Gas Emergency line on 0800 111 999
  • If you use a textphone contact 0800 371 787. BSL Users can use SignLive free of charge.


Further advice

Would you like more advice on staying safe and well at home? Cosy Kingdom is a free and impartial energy advice service available to everyone living in Fife.

Our energy advisors can be contacted by:

  • Calling 01592 807930
  • Texting COSY then YOUR NAME to 88440
  • Emailing
  • Request advice online
  • On our Facebook and Twitter social media pages