Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning

You can’t see, taste, feel or smell carbon monoxide. If a gas appliance or other fuel-burning device develops a fault you won’t notice the carbon monoxide.

Regular servicing of gas appliances

Regular servicing and correct appliance use can prevent carbon monoxide.

Gas appliances and other fuel-powered portable equipment need regular servicing to ensure:

  • they are operating correctly
  • exhaust gases are conveyed outside
  • they are not damaged, dirty or out of calibration
  • they are burning at their optimum level

Where to put your gas appliance?

The location of your appliance is also critically important:

  • Never use free standing generators, other fuel-burning devices or engines inside
  • Make sure exhaust gases always discharge outdoors and not into an enclosed space such as an annex.
  • Do not position fuel-burning devices near any vents or opening windows. This may lead to the gases drifting back into your sleeping area.

Outdoor use only

Approved for outdoor use only means you should only use an appliance outdoors.

Examples of Approved for outdoor use only gas appliances

  • barbecues
  • fridge/freezers
  • butane cartridge ‘lunch box cookers’
  • gas lanterns

Appliances designed for outdoor use generally have far higher carbon monoxide emissions and do not contain the same safety devices of appliances approved for indoor use.

Do not set up outdoor appliances in enclosed spaces. Position outdoor gas appliances well away from windows or doors of enclosed areas.

Never use gas appliances in unventilated spaces. This includes portable gas heaters. If an appliance is not ventilated properly, it might not operate correctly and can result in carbon monoxide being produced. The higher energy efficiency ratings for new houses is compromising ventilation and triggering the need for fixed ventilation that is required by open flued gas appliances to operate safely.

Always use a gas appliance in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions and never for anything other than its intended purpose. For example: a gas cooker is for cooking.  It is not designed to be a space heater.

Where to next

Updated: 28 Jul 2022

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