Professional Home Safety from Honeywell

Honeywell Home Safety

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The dangers of Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odourless gas which is highly toxic to people and animals. It is often referred to as the 'Silent Killer' because it is difficult to detect as we can't smell, taste or see it. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can occur at any time in any home or enclosed space. Initial symptoms such as tiredness and headaches, are similar to those of influenza, which can make it difficult to diagnose.

The longer CO gas is breathed in and the higher its concentration, the worse the symptoms become including loss of balance, loss of vision and memory and eventually unconscionsness and death.

Who is at Risk from CO Poisoning?

Any person or animal sharing an environment with a faulty appliance is at risk

How is Carbon Monoxide formed in domestic locations?

CO is produced by the incomplete burning of fuels such as wood, charcoal, coal, heating oil, paraffin, petrol, natural gas, propane, butane etc. and by cigarette smoke. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) is the normal by-product of combustion, but if there is not enough oxygen present Carbon Monoxide is formed instead of CO2.

A dangerous level of CO can occour if an appliance is faulty or badly maintained, if a flue is blocked or if a room is inadequately ventilated. To avoid the risk of CO poisoning, ensure fossil fuel burning appliances are serviced regularly and install a CO alarm.

Battery CO Alarms

Mains CO Alarms

How to avoid the risks?

Ensure each fossil fuel burning appliance is serviced regularly and monitored by a CO alarm


  • In Europe, EN50292:2013 recommends that a CO alarm should be installed in the following locations; every room featuring a solid fuel burning appliance; where occupants spend most of their time (e.g. lounge); where occupants sleep; in each room that a flue runs through/alongside
  • In England and Wales, a CO alarm is only mandatory if a solid fuel burning appliance, e.g. wood or coal, is installed
  • In Northern Ireland, a CO alarm is mandatory when any fuel burning appliances is installed or replaced in a new or existing home
  • In Scotland from Oct 2013, a CO alarm is mandatory when any type of fuel burning appliance is installed or replaced in a new or existing home
  • A CO alarm is mandatory if a "flue in void" situation is present, where the flue cannot be adequately inspected