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Carbon monoxide awareness

Don’t let a silent killer into your home

Every year people die or become ill due to carbon monoxide poisoning, because gas appliances (including gas cookers), solid fuel appliances and chimney flumes have not been properly maintained.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. Carbon-based fuels are safe to use. It is only when the fuel does not burn properly that excess CO is produced, which is poisonous. 

You can’t see it. You can’t taste it. You can’t smell it, but carbon monoxide can kill without warning in just a few hours.

You and your family are most at risk when you are asleep. Carbon monoxide poisoning is often confused with flu because the symptoms include:

  • severe headaches
  • chest or stomach pains
  • drowsiness
  • confusion
  • nausea
  • Dizziness
  • feeling very tired
  • loss of memory

Carbon monoxide kills

We will service all council owned gas appliances, solid fuel appliances, and open fires every year. When we contact you, please make sure you keep your appointments so you and your family are not at risk.

To make sure your home is safe:

  • DO make sure that your gas cooking appliance is checked every year by a Gas Safe registered engineer. We will carry out a visual inspection of your cooking appliances during our annual safety inspection. However, we are not responsible for any repairs or maintenance.
  • DO NOT install your own gas or solid fuel appliances, or open up any previously blocked open fireplace, without written permission from the council. We will not generally give permission to install these appliances due to the potential health and safety risks if they are installed incorrectly and not properly/regularly maintained.

If you have permission, always make sure your gas and solid fuel appliances are installed by a Gas Safe or HETAS registered engineer. It will be your responsibility to ensure that these appliances are regularly maintained/swept.

  • DO NOT block vents as these are needed to allow enough fresh air into the room.
  • DO NOT block gas flues, vents, airbricks or chimneys as these take away burnt gases and dangerous fumes from the appliances.

What are the warning signs of a safety issue?

  • Soot or staining around the appliance
  • The pilot light goes out frequently
  • Condensation forms in the room where the appliance is installed.
  • You can usually tell if your appliance is working properly by checking the flame.

An unhealthy gas flame will be uneven and yellow/orange in colour. This may indicate that carbon monoxide is present.

A flame that is blue, crisp and lively is healthy.

If you think there is a gas leak or carbon monoxide problem:

  • TURN OFF the appliance where possible
  • TURN OFF the gas at the meter
  • OPEN ALL doors and windows
  • DO NOT use electrical switches
  • DO NOT smoke
  • DO NOT light matches or lighters
  • DO NOT use a mobile phone
  • CALL Cadent immediately on: FREEPHONE 0800 111 999
  • Call Norwich City Council on 0844 980 3333
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