Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Monster In Your Home

This November is Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month – an ideal time to draw our attention to the findings of npower’s annual carbon monoxide research based on the responses of 2000 UK residents.

As the winter weather sets in and the evenings get darker, we start to make more use of our central heating but also our fires and log-burners. There’s nothing cosier than a real fire, is there, particularly at Christmas but make sure that you know the risks of using one.

carbon monoxide awareness - do you know the risks - wood stacked up around an open fire place

Read on to learn more about the deadly risk carbon monoxide gas creates and find out how you can win a Nest Protect smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector worth £109 by answering a simple question.

The importance of Carbon Monoxide awareness

nPower has discovered that 43% of us Brits wouldn’t know what to do if there was a leak in our home. Over 33% of our homes aren’t fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm and over 25% of us don’t realise that CO has no smell.

Even more worrying, only 5% of us can identify the most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning (CO).

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood don’t fully burn, so incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated household appliances like boilers, cookers and fires – both gas and solid fuel, can all be causes of CO poisoning.

Between 1995 and 2015, only 35 per cent of deaths from CO poisoning were actually from mains gas appliances or heating. The majority of deaths were from gas emitted from appliances that burn solid fuel, portable gas bottles and, petrol and diesel.

Did you know that something like a log burner could be a potential cause of CO poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is completely invisible, it has no smell and no taste, so the only definitive way to detect a leak is with a CO alarm.

Yet 43% of us admit we wouldn’t know what to do if there was a CO leak in our home and over 25% of us don’t know that CO has no smell.

Why is this a problem?

Because every year in the UK over 200 people are admitted to hospital with suspected CO poisoning and around 50 people die unnecessarily from it.  The number of people affected could well be much higher, simply because so few of us know what the symptoms of CO poisoning are. An awareness of carbon monoxide is crucial.

One in six of us thinks that a metallic taste in your mouth is a symptom (wrong!) and one in ten of us think a fever would be a symptom (also wrong!)

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:

  • dizziness
  • headaches
  • nausea & vomiting
  • tiredness & confusion
  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • stomach pain

Now many of these symptoms are similar to the flu so this is why it is vital that medical attention is sought and we do all we can to avoid carbon monoxide leaks in the first place.

This means ensuring we have a fully functioning and correctly installed carbon monoxide alarm.

npower’s research also shows that almost two-thirds of the UK (61.1%) have not had their boilers serviced in the last year. And, one in 14 people who live in privately rented accommodation (7.3%) who legally should have had a CO alarm fitted by their landlord (because their rented home has an appliance that burns, or is capable of burning solid fuel), do not have one installed.

Carbon Monoxide awareness 2017 infographic

EXCUSES, EXCUSES

The top three reasons people gave to justify not having a CO alarm were: It’s on my to-do list – I just haven’t done it yet (30.3%), I’ve never had one before (27%) and I don’t think I need one (16.7%).

WHEN THERE’S A LEAK

If you suspect you, or someone you know, is suffering from CO poisoning you should:-

  • STOP using all appliances
  • OPEN doors and windows
  • EVACUATE the property immediately
  • CALL the GAS EMERGENCY number on 0800 111 999 to report the incident
  • DO NOT RETURN to the property and
  • SEEK immediate medical help.

For more information about carbon monoxide and to find out how to protect your family, visit: npower.com/co-safety.

WIN A NEST PROTECT SMART SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR WORTH £109. 

If you would like to win a Nest Protect smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector worth £109 to protect you and yours, simply enter via the rafflecopter below, making sure you answer the qualifying question in the blog comments below. (The answer is somewhere in this post!)

What percentage of the UK haven’t had their boiler serviced in the past year?’

The giveaway will run until 11:59 pm on Sunday 10th December.  UK entrants only and terms and conditions apply which you can find on my Giveaways Page.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck!

*PR collaboration with npower

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linda

Ex marketing professional turned family lifestyle blogger. I live in Cardiff with hubby Mat, Caitlin (10) and Ieuan (8).

Find me on: Twitter | Facebook

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Nicola
Guest

It is really so scary how deadly carbon monoxide is. One of the 1st things we bought when moving into our new home was a carbon monoxide detector.

Elise Cohen Ho
Guest

I have a detector but it seems to have a mind of its own. I wonder if it is even accurate. Perhaps I need to go shopping.

Super Busy Mum
Guest

Something we should all be aware of, thanks so much for raising awareness!! x

AVRIL SAMUEL
Guest

My daughter died of carbon monoxide poisoning two months after getting married and shortly after returning to work from her idyllic honeymoon. Sadly, she and her husband had bought a smoke alarm that came with a CO alarm. They installed the smoke alarm but hadn’t got round to installing the carbon monoxide alarm. Please test your alarms regularly, preferably weekly – Test it Tuesday. Preferably install an alarm on each level of your home. Remember that if there is an adjoining property – carbon monoxide can come through to your home from that property. We also take an alarm with… Read more »

Jenny
Guest

We’ve not had our boiler tested since we bought our house as it’s so old. Thankfully we have the Nest Protect which gives up peace of mind.

Fritha Strickland
Guest

I’m terrified about things like this! We got a detector about 6 years ago when I was pregnant for the first time and I’m so glad we have it x

Michelle Twin Mum
Guest

Thank you so much for raising awareness on this issue, I know of a friend who was being poisoned but luckily realised before it got to the drastic point. Mich x

Gareth Torrance
Guest

This is something that always worries me,,, Ad since we should be moving to a new house in a couple of month, I’ll be doing many checks

Nayna Kanabar
Guest

We have a carbon monoxide detector installed in our home as the risks ate too great in case carbon monixide goes undetected.

Charli
Guest

Great infographic – carbon monoxide is so dangerous. I’m really pleased to say that our alarm is in good working order.
C x

Lynn Griffiths
Guest

It’s #COawarenessMONTH
Lynn Griffiths
Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide (CO)88/99
Became CO-AWARE 99/05
CO-AWARENESS Charity 05/17unpaid
29+YEARS
My story (below) badly needs updating below.
https://t.co/98NIUyM9Ym

Joanna
Guest
Joanna

I have experienced twice carbon monoxide poisoning due to a faulty gas heater and almost died. Since then, I never went to sleep again without a carbon monoxide alarm which I would test every week to make sure it works. Luckily now I live in a gas free home.

Sarah Bailey
Guest

We have an alarm in our bedroom, just outside the bathroom door as our boiler is in there, so hopefully we would be alerted, but it is scary how dangerous and silent of a killer carbon monoxide is.

Patrick
Guest

Great post and extremely timely and timeless. In regards to changing your batteries,change them out everytime we do a clock change.

Jazmin Williams
Guest

I learnt about this really because we have a fire and I was so terrified but we have a monitor and my mother reassured me. This is so important to flag up!

Ana De- Jesus
Guest

I remember when I was in my third year of university and we were sharing a house. Anyhow we had a faulty boiler that was leaking gas and it took the engineers quite a while to come out and fix it and we were so worried! Luckily we were all ok but its so important to check for carbon monoxide risks!

Rhian Westbury
Guest

It’s so scary how many people carbon monoxide poisoning affects every year. It’s definitely so important to have a carbon monoxide alarm x

Samantha Donnelly - StressedMum
Guest

This is really something that scares me, and why we have a carbon monoxide alarm, they do not cost a lot to buy and a life saver. I am surprised by how many people do not have these alarms x

Danasia Fantastic
Guest

I always knew carbon monoxide was dangerous but I never thought about how important it is to have it a carbon monoxide alarm in my home. Great post!

Jen
Guest

We have an alarm fitted, and I would always want one. In my previous house I didn’t realise my gas cooker was emitting CO, but I was suffering a lot of headaches and sickness. My friend got me a detector, and within minutes it turned black (which indicated a strong reading). I was horrified. I never used the cooker again after that and have always made sure we have an alarm fitted now. So so important. It is frightening to think it could have been a lot worse, and we had children in the house too. I cannot stress it… Read more »

Melanie
Guest

These facts are shocking and it is great that you are raising awareness of such an important and fatal issue x

Angela Ricardo Bethea
Guest

With the arrival of my little one I must be extra careful to this kind of stuff. Thanks for the tips, this post was quite informative and helpful.

Emily Leary
Guest

It’s terrifying how easily it could happen to anyone, one really should be in every home, hopefully the numbers do are always going up.

Baby Isabella
Guest

We never knew it was Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month, so off to check out our alarm now. Interesting infographic too!

Lilinha
Guest

I have a carbon monoxide alarm and I hope we never need to use it. Such an important topic to raise awareness for!

Angela Milnes
Guest

It’s a real danger to be aware of. I do know of someone who sadly passed away due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This is an important post.

Kara
Guest

We had a gas leak earlier this year and it was very scary at the time. Our engineer pointed out that our alarm was in the wrong place so have moved it now

Lauretta at Home and Horizon
Guest

Thank you for posting this. We should spread the word, as carbon monoxide risk is definitely something everyone should be aware of.

Olivia Thristan
Guest

This post is so important, people need to realise how dangerous it really is. I have an alarm for it in my house and in my opinion it is just as important as a fire alarm. I didn’t know the symptoms of this, so you’ve raised some awareness thank you ! x

Louise
Guest

I definitely couldn’t live without our detector. The thought of myself or the kids dying from Carbon Monoxide poisoning always scares the hell out of me! Well done for spreading awareness.

Louise x

Milly Youngman
Guest

I don’t have one myself and this has made me realise I definitely need one!

(The comp question answer: 61%!)

Tracy Nixon
Guest
Tracy Nixon

Almost two thirds of the UK (61.1%) have not had their boilers serviced in the last year.

Lesley Bradley
Guest
Lesley Bradley

The answer is 61.1%

Alison Johnson
Guest
Alison Johnson

61% haven’t had their boiler serviced in the last year.

Ashleigh Allan
Guest
Ashleigh Allan

61.1%

Tanya Deliyska
Guest
Tanya Deliyska

61% of the UK haven’t had their boiler serviced in the past year.

Kevin Honey
Guest
Kevin Honey

5%

iain maciver
Guest
iain maciver

61% haven’t had their boiler serviced in the last year

Catherine Barton
Guest
Catherine Barton

61%…….

Annabel Greaves
Guest
Annabel Greaves

61.1% x

laura stewart
Guest
laura stewart

61.1% should always get it checked x

melanie stirling
Guest
melanie stirling

61%

Christine Dodd
Guest

The answer is 61%

laura banks
Guest
laura banks

The answer is 61.1%

Leslie Hernandez
Guest

Very interesting read! I have a carbon monoxide detector in my Apartment and it works pretty good. It is important to make sure that any device you use to detect it is working properly because that is so dangerous!

Solange
Guest
Solange

61.1%

Kelly (@kellycloggs)
Guest
Kelly (@kellycloggs)

61% of the UK haven’t had their boiler serviced in the past year.

Howard Lake
Guest

61%

Sarah Mackay
Guest
Sarah Mackay

61%

Lorna Ledger
Guest
Lorna Ledger

62% – WOW! Enlightening