New research from AA Home Membership shows that households are at risk from carbon monoxide poisoning, as only half (54%) have a monitor in their home to detect the deadly gas.*
The findings, released in support of Gas Safety Week, reveal that a fifth of those with an alarm don't test it each year to make sure it works. There is also uncertainty around recognising the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
While most people are aware of the main warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning – including loss of consciousness, headaches and nausea – some also believe that shaky hands (16%), a tickly cough (11%) and a runny nose (7%) are symptoms when in fact they're not.
Six per cent believe that odourless carbon monoxide has a sulphur-like aroma and can be detected by a smoke alarm – both of which are untrue. Worryingly, more than half (51%) are unaware that a lazy yellow flame on a cooker could be a sign that carbon monoxide is present. Another one in twenty-five (4%) don't realise that carbon monoxide can kill.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can take hold quickly, so the sooner you are aware of it the better
Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership
Helen Brooker, head of AA Home Membership, says: "It's good to see that, on the whole, people are aware of the main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, though it's surprising that there aren't more households with carbon monoxide alarms.
"Carbon monoxide poisoning can take hold quickly, so the sooner you are aware of it the better.
"Working with gas is dangerous which is why you should only use Gas Safe registered engineers. Having an unqualified person mess with your gas appliances could have disastrous consequences."
If you've got a gas boiler, it's very important to get it serviced regularly in order to minimise the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
AA boiler and central heating cover
* Research carried out by Populus among 1,258 adults aged 18+, 14–25 August 2014.
15 September 2014