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Last updated: 26th October, 2022


Carbon Monoxide & Boiler Safety Guide

Carbon Monoxide & Boiler Safety Guide

Throughout the colder months, many of us use our boilers on a daily basis to warm our homes but how many of us actually consider the dangers involved with gas appliances?

In this guide, we’re going to be looking at some ways in which you can ensure your boiler is working safely and as it should to help keep your family and home safe.

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Always Use a Gas Safe Engineer

The most important thing to always remember when having anything done to your gas boiler is to use a Gas Safe Registered engineer. The government set up the Gas Safe Register (formerly known as CORGI) in order to ensure only those with the right kind of skills and knowledge work with gas appliances.

By law, all gas engineers must be registered as Gas Safe, so if anyone, even a trusted electrician or decorator, offers to mend your boiler without being on the Gas Safe Register, they are breaking the law and could cause a potentially fatal accident. You can search for a Gas Safe engineer near to you by using the Gas Safe Register’s online checker.

At iHeat, we take gas safety very seriously, ensuring that all our boiler installers are Gas Safe Registered and for your peace of mind, we make sure they display their Gas Safe card upon arrival so you can be sure the work will be done diligently and safely.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide is produced when a gas appliance isn’t burning the fuel correctly or if there isn’t enough oxygen for the gas to burn completely.

Unfortunately, in England and Wales there are over 60 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning every year and it is commonly referred to as the ‘silent killer’ due to its lack of smell or taste which makes it incredibly hard to detect.

However, there are some signs to look out for if you suspect you may have a carbon monoxide in your home:

A Yellow Flame

If you notice your boiler pilot light flame has turned yellow instead of the usual blue flame, this is a common indicator of carbon monoxide.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Possible symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea and vomiting

  • Tiredness and confusion

  • Stomach pain

  • Shortness of breath

  • Confusion

  • Irregular heartbeat

  • Seizures

Unusual Marks

If you notice unusual marks or staining around your boiler, this could suggest carbon dioxide is present in your home.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm Going Off

This may seem like an obvious one but if you have a carbon monoxide detector and hear the alarm going off, or notice dark spots on the old style detectors, this means carbon monoxide is present in your home.

If you notice any of the signs above and think you may have a Carbon Monoxide leak, you should call the Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 and book an appointment with your GP as soon as possible to conduct a blood or breath test to check for carbon monoxide in your system.

Which Boilers Can Produce Carbon Monoxide?

Gas, LPG and Oil Boilers

Boilers powered by gas, LPG and oil can produce carbon monoxide as it is the incomplete burning of fuel that leads to the creation of carbon monoxide.

Electric Boilers

If you have an electric boiler, you don’t need to worry about carbon monoxide poisoning as there is no fuel which can be burned incompletely.

How to Protect Your Home from Carbon Monoxide

Buy a Carbon Monoxide Detector

If you don’t already have one, buying a carbon monoxide detector could save your life. Nowadays, they have become much more advanced and with devices such as the Google Nest Protect, you can have a smoke, fire and carbon monoxide detector all in one which also sends a notification to your phone to alert you even when you’re not at home.

Get Your Boiler Serviced Annually

Getting your boiler serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer means any small issues can be identified and fixed before they turn into a much more serious and expensive problem that could potentially put you or your family at risk, such as Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

It is also worth noting that many boiler warranties become invalid unless you can prove you have had an annual boiler service.

Gas Leaks

Whilst natural gas isn’t poisonous like carbon monoxide, it is highly flammable, meaning a gas leak could lead to an explosion, causing your house to go up in flames.

Unlike carbon monoxide, a gas leak can be quite easy to detect due to the distinct smell (a bit like rotten eggs). Whilst natural gas is usually harmless, a chemical is added to it to make it more detectable in homes.

What To Do If You Smell Gas

If you smell gas from your boiler, make sure to call the National Gas Emergency Helpline immediately on 0800 111 999 and report a suspected gas leak.

Whilst waiting for the Gas Safe engineer, make sure to do the following:

  • Turn off all gas appliances

  • Open all doors and windows in your home to let fresh air in

  • Turn off the gas at the mains

  • Make sure there are no natural flames e.g. kitchen hobs, lighters, lit candles

  • Leave the house as soon as possible

  • Boiler Pressure Too High or Low

    If you notice your boiler pressure is either too high or too low, it may be related to a fault on your boiler or due to a leak in the central heating system. These usually aren’t safety issues, however, if you find your boiler pressure keeps going up or down by too much even after you have adjusted it, it’s worth getting a Gas Safe Engineer out to check it.

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Stephen Day profile photo
Article by
Stephen Day | Co-founder
Gas Safe registered and FGAS certified engineer with over 20 years experience in the heating and cooling industry.