The myth-busting guide to Carbon Monoxide

The myth-busting guide to Carbon Monoxide


Posted 22nd Jun 2017

A recent survey has found one in 10 adults in Britain have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning to some degree in their home, with four people requiring hospital treatment for it every day

This has inspired CORGI HomePlan to compile some myth-busting facts to raise awareness to the threat of the silent killer.

True or False: It is possible to smell carbon monoxide being emitted in the home

Answer: False.

28 per cent of people in the UK wrongly believe you can smell carbon monoxide gas. Colourless and odourless, it's almost impossible to detect if you do not have an alarm. Worryingly, 49 per cent of people do not have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home. You can find out more about the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide here.

True or False: Carbon monoxide poisoning is extremely difficult to diagnose

Answer: True.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are very similar to flu, making a diagnosis very difficult. These include headaches, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, confusion and eventually loss of consciousness. GPs currently don't have access to equipment needed to check carbon monoxide levels - the only way to be sure of its presence is with a blood test. 46 per cent of GPs have seen patients with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms but18 per cent say they wouldn't consider CO poisoning to be a diagnosis.

True or False: Carbon monoxide won’t leak if I have new gas appliances or if I have my appliances serviced regularly

Answer: False.

While having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will reduce the chances of leaking carbon monoxide, it doesn't completely rule them out. CO can be emitted from appliances new or old, and if you're worried you should see your GP. Regular servicing of your gas appliances is the best way to reduce the risk of your home being subject to a CO leak, while fitting an alarm is the best way of detecting it, if and when something goes wrong.

True or False: Carbon monoxide can only leak from my boiler

Answer: false.

Carbon monoxide can leak from any gas appliances around the home. This could be an oven, gas fire or boiler. CO will be produced when there is too little oxygen to form carbon dioxide. An example of this is when a flame is burnt in a poorly ventilated space. This is why it can be extremely dangerous to barbecue in a tent as there will generally be too little oxygen for carbon dioxide to be produced, meaning carbon monoxide is released instead. One of the main things you should keep an eye out for is whether the flames burn a yellow or orange colour instead of blue, as this could mean the appliance is failing to burn properly.

You can find out more about the dangers of carbon monoxide here.






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