Carbon Monoxide Awareness – Keep Your Home and Family Safe this Winter

Carbon monoxide is one guest you don’t want to invite into your home this Christmas season.  It’s silent and deadly.

Carbon Monoxide symptoms can be hard to spot because they resemble flu-like symptoms. The six main symptoms to look out for are headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapse and loss of consciousness.



 What is carbon monoxide?

 Carbon monoxide, commonly referred to as CO, is an invisible, odourless, colourless, toxic gas.

How is it produced?

 Carbon monoxide is produced by the incomplete burning of common fuels such as gas, coal, natural gas, propane, heating oil, kerosene and methane, or any other combustible material such as wood, cloth or paper. Fuels burn incompletely when there isn’t an adequate supply of oxygen.

What are the potential sources?

 Potential sources found in your home and garage include:

  • Fireplaces
  • Clogged chimney flues
  • Water heaters
  • Furnaces
  • Gas space heaters
  • Wood and gas stoves
  • Charcoal grills and barbecues
  • Vehicle exhaust fumes
  • Generators
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Vehicle exhaust, especially from attached garages or vehicles parked close to ventilation intakes

How can I prevent it?

 The risk of poisoning reductions significantly when appliances are frequently maintained and correctly ventilated.

Fuel-burning appliances, such as furnaces, stoves and fireplaces, as well as chimneys and vents should be cleaned and inspected every year before cold weather sets in.

Vents for fuel-burning appliances should always be clear of debris.

Gas and charcoal barbecues should be used outside, away from all building openings.

Portable fuel-burning generators should be used outdoors in well-ventilated areas away from building openings. Portable fuel-burning heaters should be vented properly, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Other ways to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Never using the stove or oven to heat your home.
  • Open the flue for adequate ventilation before using a fireplace.
  • Never run a vehicle or other fuelled engine or motor inside a garage, even if the garage doors are open.
  • Always remove a vehicle from the garage immediately after starting it.


Carbon Monoxide Alarms

 Where can I purchase a Carbon Monoxide alarm?

 Modern CO alarms are similar in design to smoke alarms (which do not detect CO) and can be purchased from around £15.00 at most major retail outlets including DIY stores and supermarkets.

What should I do if the alarm goes off?

 Follow the steps below if you or anyone in your home is suffering from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

  • Get everyone out of the home immediately.
  • Call 911 or your local emergency services number from outside the building.
  • Do not return to your home until an official advises that it is safe to do so.
  • If your alarm sounds and no one is suffering from symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, check to see if the battery needs replacing or the alarm has reached its end-of-life before calling 911.

How do I test and replace the alarm?

  •  Alarms should be tested monthly by pressing the test button.
  • Replace batteries every year.
  • Replace alarms according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

What should I do if I suspect CO poisoning?

Get fresh air immediately. Open doors and windows, turn off gas appliances and leave the house.

See your doctor immediately or go to hospital – let them know that you suspect CO poisoning. They can do a blood or breath test to check.

If you think there is an immediate danger, call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999.

Ask a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances and flues to see if there is a dangerous problem.

Remember, the risk of poisoning reductions significantly when appliances are frequently maintained, contact Arktek today on 0191 516 6911 to arrange a Gas Safety Check to protect your home against Carbon Monoxide.


Arktek Gas Engineer

Why you need to service your boiler regularly

Boiler servicing is one of those tasks that is often easily forgotten about. You may get a notification at the start of spring advising that this is due, you make a mental note to book it in and before you know its just another thing forgotten. When you eventually remember again it’s the middle of Christmas, you have the whole family staying over and you have more important things to worry about and then all of a sudden, the boiler goes.

It’s easy to think that the boiler does not get used during the summer months, but whilst you may not use your heating during the summer, the chances are you are still using hot water regularly. The boiler could then be running into issues and these would go unnoticed until the winter when the boiler is being used excessively. Having the boiler serviced annually means that the engineer will identify any potential issues and fix these before there is any major damage. Servicing your boiler probably costs less than you think and it would definitely cost less than replacing your boiler completely.

Maintaining your boiler and getting it checked regularly will keep the boiler running efficiently and because you’ll catch any issues early on, your boiler will be less likely to break down later. A healthy and well-maintained boiler will most likely last longer than a boiler that has not been serviced.

Getting your boiler serviced regularly can actually help to save money on your gas bills. As part of your service, the engineer will carry out all the necessary checks to make sure that your boiler is running efficiently. The more efficient the boiler is, the less energy it will take to run.

According to the Department of Health and Social Care, 4000 people go to A&E each year with carbon monoxide poisoning and because the symptoms can easily be mistaken for other illnesses (headaches, dizziness, nausea, breathlessness, collapsing and loss of consciousness) sometimes it is not caught in time and can be fatal. Every year there are about 25 deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales. Servicing the boiler gives you peace of mind that it is running safely and puts you at ease that your family is safe.

Another reason to get your boiler serviced regularly is to ensure that you do not void any guarantee that you may have. Boiler warranties will only apply if the boiler is serviced on an annual basis. If you don’t service your boiler this will void the warranty and if it does break down you would not be able to claim any money for the repairs.

Have you serviced your boiler in the last 12 months?

If you haven’t had your boiler serviced in a while, now may be the perfect time to book this in. There are a wide range of reasons why you should do this annually and for a small charge it really could be the difference between life or death.

Arktek Group Ltd have fully accredited gas engineers on hand to provide annual boiler services and gas safety checks to your domestic premise. Why not find out more by visiting or call us on 0191 516 6911 and speak to one of our customer services team.