Carbon monoxideWe can provide help and advice if you're worried about carbon monoxide. Our public health inspectors can also visit your home and monitor carbon monoxide levels if necessary.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a by-product of fossil fuels such as coal, gas, wood or oil and is produced when they are burned.
It's a deadly gas. You can't see it, smell it or taste it, so it's difficult to detect.
Carbon Monoxide Detector - RECALLThere is a potential safety issue with the Sensor Safe Carbon Monoxide Alarm SF80190.
Test results have confirmed that these alarms may not detect levels of carbon monoxide and have been taken off sale. All existing stock has been quarantined and the company are recalling those already sold. These alarms have been supplied throughout Northern Ireland.
Anyone who has one of these carbon monoxide alarms should stop using them immediately and return them to their place of purchase.
For more information please call the Health and Safety Team on 028 9027 0428.
What can I do to avoid carbon monoxide?There are lots of things you can do to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in your home.
- Make sure all the rooms in your home are well-ventilated. Don't block vents and, if you have double glazing or draught proofing, make sure there is still enough ventilation for any heaters.
- Check that all portable heaters are well-ventilated.
- Keep chimneys and flues clear and getting them swept regularly by a reliable chimney sweep.
- Make sure that carbon monoxide detectors meet British Standard 7860 (these should not be used as a substitute for regular services of your appliances).
- Get your boiler, heating systems and appliances installed, maintained and regularly serviced by a qualified engineer. For gas appliances, make sure your engineer is registered with the Gas Safe Register
What are the signs of carbon monoxide?Because it is a gas, carbon monoxide can be hard to detect.
However, there are some signs to look out for. These include:
- gas flames which burn orange or yellow instead of blue
- soot stains on or just above your appliances (regardless of the type of fuel you use)
- coal or wood fires which burn slowly or go out
- trouble lighting your fire
- a blocked chimney or flue
- not having enough ventilation in a room
- fatigue, muscle pains, headaches, drowsiness, dizziness, chest pain or nausea.
What should I do if I suspect carbon monoxide?If you think there are carbon monoxide fumes in your home or suspect that a flue or heating appliance is blocked or faulty, you should switch off the appliance and open your window.
You should not sleep in the room. You can also call us on 028 9027 0428 for more information.
How do I avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide?Make sure that:
- appliances are properly fitted and serviced at least once a year
- flues and chimneys are checked and swept by a qualified chimney sweep as necessary to remove any blockages
- any permanent ventilation openings are kept clear
- you install a carbon monoxide detector.
- it's fitted by an approved installer
- you make an application to our building control service. They'll make sure the appliance, it's associated flue and any other requirements meet the Building Regulations.
Advice on carbon monoxide detectorsThe Building Regulations require smoke detectors but at present don't cover carbon monoxide detectors. This is likely to change in the future, at least for new building work. Homeowners should protect themselves now by installing a carbon monoxide detector.
Where do I get a carbon monoxide detector?You can buy carbon monoxide detectors from most hardware shops and DIY stores. Make sure it has either a BS Kitemark logo and the letters BS EN 50291, or alternatively the CE markings. Here are examples of the BS Kitemark and CE marking logos.
Detectors can be wired into the mains or be battery operated. They should be tested regularly. Follow the manufacturer's instructions on the best place to fit them, how to test them and when to replace them, usually every six to seven years.
As the weight of carbon monoxide is roughly the same as air you should fit the detector as close to the appliance as you can.
They should be located:
- in accordance with the manufacturers recommendations
- in a place so you can hear the alarm from your bedrooms. The biggest risk occurs when you are sleeping.
- Carbon monoxide kills website
- Health and Safety Executive
- Gas Safe Register
- HETAS for solid fuel
- OFTEC for oil
- Building control
- Building control technical helpline 028 9027 0432