Your boiler runs day in, day out, keeping your home warm and the water hot – but do you know if it's working properly? If the flame-producing fuel doesn't burn correctly, you could be at risk from carbon monoxide gas.
Read our advice about the tell-tale signs, and how to make your home safe.
How do I find carbon monoxide in the home?
You can't. Carbon monoxide is a silent killer that you can't see, taste or smell. If the central heating boiler, cooker, heater or the fireplace in your home doesn't get enough ventilation then the fuel may not burn properly, and it could release poisonous carbon monoxide (CO).
Fitting a CO alarm or detector in your home will alert you to the danger of the gas. Also, beware of lazy yellow flames on your cooker hob or appliance (flames should be blue), the pilot light on your boiler frequently goes out, or there is increased condensation inside the windows.
What effect will carbon monoxide have on the occupants in my house?
Exposure to the gas indoors can be evident when occupants show symptoms similar to flu or food poisoning:
- unusual tiredness
- feeling or being sick
- difficulty breathing
- loss of consciousness
Older people, pregnant mothers and young children, and those with chronic heart disease and respiratory problems, are particularly vulnerable.
However, unlike the flu you will not have a fever or high temperature. Frequent headaches during the winter – when the central heating is often on – are another sign. The symptoms will disappear when you go away from the building for some time, such as on holiday.
If you believe these flu-like symptoms are linked to CO in your home, stop using all your gas or solid-fuel appliances (except electricity) and open the windows.
Visit your GP as soon as possible to check the symptoms, and call the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Gas Safety free helpline:
0800 300 363
What can I do to make my home safe?
As a first step to protect yourself or your family, fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm or detector. In older houses, make sure that air bricks and fireplace chimneys are kept clear.
For a combustion appliance, such as a gas central heating boiler, the HSE recommends that it is regularly serviced by a competent person. Our gas boiler cover including a service is only provided by Gas Safe registered engineers.
Thinking about replacing your boiler?
We'll give you big company backup, at affordable prices:
- 'A' rated energy-efficient boilers.
- Exclusive warranty and aftercare package.
- Prices from £1,990.*
I already have a boiler
Then have a look at our Boiler and Central Heating Response Plus for your central heating:
- Unlimited call-outs for heating emergencies and repairs.
- Boiler inspection and service by a Gas Safe engineer.
- Gas boiler or central heating breakdowns where you have no hot water or heating.
- Common heating repairs, like the boiler not always coming on when it should or fixing a faulty radiator.
* Representative example of a replacement conventional boiler (15kW or 18kW) in the same position in the home, typically suitable for a 3 bed house, 1 bathroom, with no additional requirements such as new thermostats, radiators or additional pipe work.
Central Heating Response Plus is a Home Membership option.
AA Home Membership is underwritten by Acromas Insurance Company Limited (AICL), 57-63 Line Wall Road, Gibraltar. Registered number 88716 (Gibraltar). UK branch address: Enbrook Park, Sandgate, Folkestone CT20 3SE. Acromas Insurance Company is authorised by the Gibraltar Financial Services Commission, and is a member of the Association of British Insurers.
Automobile Association Insurance Services Limited is an insurance intermediary authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), Financial Services Register number 310562. You can check their register or call the FCA on 0800 111 6768.