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Protect Yourself From Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Last updated  13 June 2018

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning causes over 50 deaths a year. Read on to find out more about the dangers of CO and how to reduce the risk to you and your family from CO poisoning.


What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas produced when gas, oil, coal, wood or other carbon fuels don't burn properly. Because it has no smell, taste or colour it is hard to detect and you might be breathing it without realising it. It can be fatal or cause permanent damage to your health.

What causes carbon monoxide poisoning?

When fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood burn in an enclosed room all the oxygen is gradually used up and replaced with carbon dioxide, this prevents the fire burning properly and causes it to release poisonous carbon monoxide.

Look for these danger signs

Even though it has no smell, taste or colour there are warning signs that carbon monoxide may be in the air:

  • yellow or orange flames instead of the normal blue flames;
  • sooty stains on the walls around fires and water heaters;
  • sharing a wall or chimney with a neighbouring house where there is a carbon monoxide leak, even if your house does not have one.

Protect yourself with a carbon monoxide alarm

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