Over half of Brits wouldn't spot a household carbon monoxide leak

Four people are treated for carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK every day, but over half of Brits (58%) would not be able to spot the signs of a carbon monoxide leak, new research reveals.

The survey conducted by Certas Energy asked more than 1,000 UK residents how much they know about carbon monoxide poisoning and general boiler maintenance.

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Eight out of ten (80%) stated that they knew carbon monoxide poisoning could be caused by a faulty boiler, but one fifth (20%) of those surveyed admitted to having never checked their boiler to see if it is working properly.

In addition to this, almost two fifths (39%) don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm fitted at home and more than half (58%) said they would not notice anything wrong with their boiler unless their heating wasn’t working.

When it came to understanding the symptoms of a carbon monoxide leak, almost half of people (45%) incorrectly identified the signs, when the most common symptoms are: a tension-type headache, nausea and vomiting, stomach pain, shortness of breath and dizziness.

Looking into the upkeep of the nation's boilers, two fifths (40%) confessed that they don’t have regular annual checks carried out by their gas provider.

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Commenting on the findings, Dr Sarah Brewer from ExpertHealthReviews.com, said: “Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-irritant and therefore undetectable gas, yet it is a killer. Exposure to carbon monoxide is the most common cause of lethal poisoning worldwide and can affect anyone in a confined space contaminated with fumes.

“Mild carbon monoxide poisoning causes headache, dizziness, feeling sick or vomiting, shortness of breath, rapid pulse, abdominal pain, irritability and confusion. You may feel like you have food poisoning or ‘flu, but without a temperature. These symptoms will gradually get worse if you continue breathing the carbon monoxide, but will improve on breathing fresh air. Other people in the same environment will be affected too. If you think you have been exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide, seek advice from your GP but if symptoms are serious, go straight to your local hospital A&E department where a blood test can confirm the diagnosis and oxygen treatment given.

“Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm can save lives. If not detected and treated, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to loss of consciousness and death. Sadly, symptoms are often missed when carbon monoxide poisoning occurs during sleep.”

Angus Blundell, Director of Marketing at Certas Energy, said: “Looking after your boiler is imperative to having not only a warm, but a safe household, as there are a number of things that could go wrong if your boiler broke down, including carbon monoxide poisoning which could prove fatal.

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“Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and it is clear from our research that people are unaware of the associated risks with a broken down boiler.

“We recommend having your boiler checked by a professional engineer annually and carrying out your own safety checks every few weeks to ensure everything is in working order. You can also invest in a carbon monoxide alarm, available from Certas Energy Heating Services, for added peace of mind.”

For further boiler advice and information please visit: https://www.certasenergy.co.uk/warmfeelings/how-to-keep-boilers-in-top-condition