15 November, 2017

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:

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


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%).


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

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


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

179 responses to “Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Monster In Your Home”

  1. Nicola says:

    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.

  2. Elise Cohen Ho says:

    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.

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

  4. 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 us whenever staying away from home. It’s important to have all your carbon burning appliances serviced regularly by a registered engineer. Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms have a shelf life – check the date on your alarms and replace when either the date end is reached or the CO test doesn’t work any more.

  5. Jenny says:

    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.

  6. 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

  7. 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

  8. 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

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

  10. Charli says:

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

  11. Lynn Griffiths says:

    It’s #COawarenessMONTH
    Lynn Griffiths
    Poisoned by Carbon Monoxide (CO)88/99
    Became CO-AWARE 99/05
    CO-AWARENESS Charity 05/17unpaid
    My story (below) badly needs updating below.

  12. Joanna says:

    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.

  13. 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.

  14. Patrick says:

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

  15. 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!

  16. 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!

  17. 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

  18. 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

  19. 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!

  20. Jen says:

    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 enough that this is not something to be ignored. Well done you for bringing this to our attention, a good cause.

  21. Melanie says:

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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

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

  25. Lilinha says:

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

  26. 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.

  27. Kara says:

    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

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

  29. 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

  30. Louise says:

    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

  31. Milly Youngman says:

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

    (The comp question answer: 61%!)

  32. Tracy Nixon says:

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

  33. Lesley Bradley says:

    The answer is 61.1%

  34. Alison Johnson says:

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

  35. Ashleigh Allan says:


  36. Tanya Deliyska says:

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

  37. iain maciver says:

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

  38. Catherine Barton says:


  39. Annabel Greaves says:

    61.1% x

  40. laura stewart says:

    61.1% should always get it checked x

  41. melanie stirling says:


  42. Christine Dodd says:

    The answer is 61%

  43. laura banks says:

    The answer is 61.1%

  44. 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!

  45. Kelly (@kellycloggs) says:

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

  46. Lorna Ledger says:

    62% – WOW! Enlightening

  47. Nigel Soper says:

    OK 61% of folk have not had their boiler serviced in the last year – maybe some of them have carbon monoxide alarms so they know they don’t need their boiler serviced as it’s not producing Carbon Monoxide………

  48. Graham Ross says:

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

  49. Margaret Gallagher says:

    Top 5 vitamins to keep colds at bay this winter

    61 % haven had their boiler serviced

  50. ADEINNE TONNER says:

    The answer is 61.1%

  51. Emma Hutchings says:


  52. Lynne Manton says:

    61.1% – ridiculous when you consider that having a boiler serviced is not massively expensive and the potential cost of not doing so could be utterly devastating!

  53. margaret guest says:

    these should be make compulsory with every boiler great things save so many lives

  54. Sheena Batey says:

    61% which is quite worrying.

  55. Dean Willoughby says:


  56. Rob Hutchinson says:

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

  57. Emma says:


    Reading some of the comments has made me feel a bit nervous! Off to check my alarms now!

  58. stuart hargreaves says:


  59. Rhia says:

    I’ve been meaning to check my alarms since we moved in (3 months ago!) so I think it’s high time I did…Maybe finding your post is A Sign…

  60. Lynda Graham says:

    61% . Its one of the checks I make along with my smoke alarms. Living ‘solo’ its so important.
    Brilliant to raise awareness.

  61. Sue Harrison says:

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

  62. Charlotte says:

    61% i think this is such a great topic to get out there its so easy to stop!

  63. Ren Taylor says:

    61% …far too high a number unfortunately :o(

  64. mark witherington says:


  65. Bex Allum says:

    61% this would be fabulous in our house.

  66. Chrissy Harris says:

    61% haven’t had their boiler serviced in the last year and unfortunately I am in this category so thank you for raising my awareness

  67. fiona waterworth says:

    61.1% luckily my husband was in the gas trade so takes no chances knowing all the associated problems

  68. 61%. It’s such an important thing to do!

  69. Chanette Kennedy says:


  70. Angela Treadway says:


  71. Stephanie Tsang says:


  72. Lorraine Tinsley says:


  73. Maria Hackett says:


  74. Dawn Samples says:

    We have had ours serviced recently as we have had alot of problems with our boiler x

  75. Hester McQueen says:

    61% – my cousin has very serious health problems because of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

  76. ceril Roberts says:

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

  77. ceril Roberts says:

    Commented on Fitting In Family Time Leading Up To Christmas. Loved this post.

  78. Kimberley Ryan says:


  79. Mandy says:

    61% haven’t had their boiler serviced
    Our alarms are probably a bit old..need to check before we have the logburner going over Xmas



  81. AMANDA WARD says:

    61% havent and that is a scary thought!
    i am petrified of Carbon Monoxide and really need to get a detector fitted in my new house!

  82. Ruth Harwood says:

    61% – I’m lucky living in an all-electric maisonette, I think! I’d definitely be one of them if I had gas xx

  83. Leila Benhamida says:

    npower’s research also shows that almost two thirds of the UK (61.1%) have not had their boilers serviced in the last year

  84. jo liddement says:

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

  85. Caroles says:

    61%. That reminds me….. I’m going to book a service!

  86. john prendergast says:


  87. Lynn Neal says:

    sixty one per cent

  88. Sobia says:

    61.1% of the UK have not had their boiler serviced in the past year.

  89. Elizabeth Smith says:

    Answer 61%
    Because we rent the boiler is serviced every year

  90. Rebecca Sutton says:

    Its 61.1%, i think i am in that percentage, but reading some of these posts im going to check regularly now! So sorry to the guys who have suffered due to this.

  91. Jo McPherson says:

    61% ! We have ours serviced every year

  92. Paula Phillips says:


  93. Allison Sherwood says:


  94. Laura Pritchard says:

    Answer: 61%

  95. Alison says:

    61% Great to raise awareness of this, CO is a silent killer

  96. Carole Nott says:

    61% – great giveaway thanks

  97. Fiona Johnstone says:

    61% So easy to forget. Put it on your calendar.

  98. katrina walsh says:


  99. Sandra Fortune says:

    61.1 per cent . Not good .It’s frightening so many people have gas fires. I have a detector but would like a good one for my daughter .

  100. Sadiyya Maryam says:

    The answer is 61%. Many thanks for this important and lifesaving post. The awareness of the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning is so important and worrying that so many people aren’t aware of the seriousness and significance.

  101. Wendy Tolhurst says:


  102. Ann Skamarauskas says:

    61%, which, until last month, included us

  103. Elisa Cartwright says:


  104. M Allen says:

    61% haven’t had their boiler serviced in the past year. I’m guilty and not will do something about it.

  105. Chris Fletcher says:

    61% haven’t had their boiler services in the past year

  106. janine atkin says:


  107. Jessica Hutton says:

    61% xx

  108. Hayley Evans says:


  109. George Wright says:


  110. Naomi Williams says:


  111. Linda Hill says:

    61% of boiler owners do not have their boiler serviced – surely this should be compulsory now we know the devastating results of carbon monoxide poisoning. Certainly all households with such boilers should be fitted with detectors.

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