Detecting carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide is often called ‘the silent killer’ as you cannot smell it, you cannot see it, and you cannot taste it.

Because of this, it makes detecting carbon monoxide extremely difficult, and you may not even know that it is building up around you until it is too late.



Around 50 people a year die from carbon monoxide poisoning a year with another 200 seriously ill as an effect.



Carbon monoxide is normally caused when gas appliances like boilers, cookers etc. aren’t burning fuel properly, or if vents and chimneys are blocked. One myth is that carbon monoxide is only created by gas appliances; however coal, wood and petrol burning appliances can also create carbon monoxide.



Common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:


  • Dizziness 
  • Feeling sick 
  • Tiredness and confusion 
  • Stomach pain 
  • Being short of breath 
You should pay particular attention if:


  • People in the same flat / house as you have similar symptoms 
  • Your symptoms go away once you go outside or on holiday 
Carbon monoxide detectors



There are a number of devices available to buy that can detect a carbon monoxide leak. One of the simplest and cheapest devices on the market is a patch that can be stuck on your boiler or moved around the home. When carbon monoxide is detected, these patches change colour indicating that carbon monoxide is present.These carbon monoxide detectors are widely available and cost only a few pounds on a range of sites including Crime Prevention Products and commonly in your local hardware shop. More expensive solutions include electronic carbon monoxide detectors that can be placed in the home and sound an alarm when carbon monoxide is present. 

Other common signs that carbon monoxide may be present include:


  • Cooker flames burning orange instead of blue 
  • Black marks appearing on the front of appliances that burn fuel 
  • A pilot light on your boiler that consistently goes out 
  • More condensation on windows / doors that usual 
What to do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak




If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, turn off all appliances immediately that do not run on electricity, and open all windows in the house to let the gas escape. Call Home Group and report the issue and arrange for an emergency call out. Visit your doctor as soon as possible to ensure you are not suffering from any long term affects.