Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It’s a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that can’t be detected by the human senses alone. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning vary wildly, including headache, fatigue and nausea. When the gas builds up in large quantities, inhaling the gas can be fatal for both people and animals.

Since it’s impossible to detect the gas in your home through your own senses alone, it’s important to follow carbon monoxide safety precautions, especially if your home contains certain makes of wall units, central heating units, space heaters and gas log fires known to leak carbon monoxide.

Get your gas heater checked regularly

Gas heaters are commonly found in many households and whilst they can be very effective in heating a room, they can also be deadly if not correctly maintained. If you have a gas heater, remember that it will need annual servicing to work safely and efficiently.

Gas heaters must be serviced annually by a qualified plumber and gas fitter in order to maintain its warranty. This is especially important because a faulty heater is one of the biggest causes of carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be fatal.

Install carbon monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide detectors are a great option for those concerned about carbon monoxide, especially if you live in a house with a gas heater. Check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are functioning correctly at least once a month.

If you have more than one floor in your house, make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed in both the upstairs and downstairs of your home. This will mean any leakage will be detected more quickly, giving you and your family the very best chances of escaping safely. Plus, all alarms should be interconnected, so that when one activates, all the detectors in the house will sound.

Know when to replace your alarm

Dust, cobwebs, and insects can all gradually accumulate on all kinds of detectors over time, causing damage and eventually causing the alarm to be replaced. Most kinds of alarms will make a warning ‘beep’ or ‘chirp’ when there is a problem or when the battery needs replacing, but it’s still important to physically check the alarm and batteries every month or so. This applies to both carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms, both of which you should have in your home.

Know your models

There has recently been a safety alert issued for two particular models of gas heaters: Vulcan Heritage and Pyrox Heritage. Tests have shown that these models can produce excessive amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) and it has been recommended that people stop using these heaters immediately until they have been tested by a qualified technician. It is not just the Vulcan and Pyrox models that pose a risk: any gas heater can be a cause of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Gas heaters should only ever be used in living areas; never use a gas heater in a bathroom or bedroom. Plus, if you don’t have permanent vents installed in your home, make sure you use the heater in a well-ventilated area, ideally with both windows and doors open.

As well as ensuring all gas appliances are situated in well-ventilated areas, checking for chimney blockages and installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home; it is strongly recommended that all types of gas heaters, including wall units, central heating units, space heaters and gas log fires, should be serviced a minimum of every two years, to check carbon monoxide levels and prevent poisoning.


Tim Bateman, HVAC Supervisor, Service Today:

Tim Bateman is an HVAC Supervisor at Service Today, a professional home services company offering services including emergency plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling.