Less than half of all Brits own a Carbon Monoxide detector, research from HomeServe Heating has revealed.
The organisation discovered that, although CO kills approximately 50 people in this country alone every year and hospitalises thousands more, the public’s knowledge about this ‘silent killer’ is hazy.
HomeServe Heating found that one-sixth of Brits do not know that carbon monoxide can lead to illness, and that 20% of people who do not own a CO detector said they don’t need one as they already own a smoke alarm. Smoke alarms cannot detect carbon monoxide, however, and households should contain both alarms, but despite this, 21% of respondents said smoke and CO alarms are the same thing.
Furthermore, 15% of respondents said they think CO detectors are too expensive, although they cost only around £15 and prove invaluable every time they make a noise.
Carbon Monoxide is odourless and tasteless – many people who are killed by the gas never realise that they are breathing in a poison, and CO detectors are the best way for households to be alerted to its presence. Nonetheless, 8% of people polled said they think that CO has a “tell-tale smell” – this is not the case, and is a dangerous belief to hold.
Many people do not seem to realise how dangerous a boiler can be if it is not maintained and serviced properly. Many cases of carbon monoxide poisoning occur due to boiler breakdowns, with fire and explosion also real risks posed by badly maintained or installed boilers. Broken televisions do not pose anywhere near the same level of danger, but 16% of respondents to the HomeServe poll said they are more worried that their TV will break than if their boiler is dangerous, with 19% saying they think their boiler is safe because they have not yet experienced any performance problems.
To stay safe from Carbon Monoxide:
- Get boilers serviced once every year
- Buy a carbon monoxide alarm that meets European or British safety standards
- Only use Gas Safe-registered engineers, such as the engineers in our nationwide network
- Learn about the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning – headache, nausea and vomiting, breathing difficulties, weakness and unconsciousness – similar to the symptoms of flu initially but without a high temperature
- Learn what to do if you suspect someone has carbon monoxide poisoning
Our boiler cover members receive boiler services, carbon monoxide tests and gas safety checks, so if you have protected your gas appliances with 247 Home Rescue, you have also protected your family from the risks of carbon monoxide!