Are you safe from a carbon monoxide leak? Check your boiler during Gas Safety Week

18 September 2017

It’s Gas Safety Week (18-24 September 2017), which aims to raise awareness of the dangers of poorly maintained gas appliances that could result in gas leaks, fires, explosions and carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide, which is known as the ‘silent killer’ can be released into your home as a result of a faulty boiler.

One in 10 adults in Britain have experienced carbon monoxide poisoning to some degree in their home, according to CORGI HomePlan’s survey of 2,000 homeowners in June 2015.

Here, the boiler breakdown and emergency home cover provider offers tips on ways to tell if your boiler needs checking by a registered Gas Safe engineer.

Boiler checklist

Check your boiler if:

  • Your boiler is old and needs frequent repairs.
  • Your home isn’t as warm as usual – if you have the heating on, but your home still feels cold, this is a sign that your boiler is not running efficiently and you may be wasting energy. Likewise, if your water hot water tap is running lukewarm, this could be a sign of a faulty diverter drive and your heating system could need checking.
  • There is a strange smell coming from your boiler. Should any dark markings appear around your boiler and/or there is a strange smell, it could be a sign that the burning function on your boiler is faulty. Get this checked by a Gas Safe registered engineer immediately as it could be a sign of a carbon monoxide leak.
  • There are strange noises coming from your heating – perhaps your boiler pump is faulty or the bearing on your fan is old, get these signs of wear and tear checked out.
  • Your carbon monoxide detector is beeping. Turn off the appliance(s) and leave the house. If you think you are in danger of carbon monoxide poisoning, call the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999. Visit your GP or go to the hospital right away – let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide FAQs

Below are some frequently asked questions and answers, which can help you to protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Is it possible to smell carbon monoxide in your home?

Carbon monoxide is colourless and odourless, so it’s almost impossible to detect without an alarm. Almost half (49%) of Brits don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm in their home, according to the Gas Safe Register.  

Can carbon monoxide only leak from a boiler?

No. Carbon Monoxide can leak from any gas appliance in your home. This could include an oven, gas fire, or a boiler.

Check the colour of your gas-fuelled flames. If flames burn a yellow or orange colour rather than blue, it means that they are not burning properly. Call a Gas Safe registered engineer to check the appliance is working safely.

Is Carbon monoxide poisoning difficult to diagnose?

The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to that of flu, so diagnosis is very difficult. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, tiredness, confusion and eventually loss of consciousness.

If I have new gas appliances or if I have my appliances serviced regularly, can I avoid the risk of a carbon monoxide leak?

Having brand new gas appliances, such as a new hob or boiler, will greatly reduce the risk but it won’t rule it out. Regular servicing of your gas appliances and having an alarm fitted is the best way to prevent a carbon monoxide leak.


In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

rather than blue, it means that they are not burning properly. Call a Gas Safe registered engineer to c

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