Carbon Monoxide (CO) is produced if there is not enough oxygen during the combustion process. It is commonly produced in appliances fuelled by LPG, natural gas, oil, petrol, wood or coal that have been badly fitted, are damaged, badly repaired or poorly maintained.
Although produced naturally by the body (in very small doses) CO is the most dangerous common airborne poisoning in the world making its odourless / colourless / tasteless features even more threatening.
A helpful indicator that Carbon Monoxide could be being produced is the colour of the flame on your appliance. If the flame is a lazy yellow and does not burn blue then the fuel may not be burning hot enough.
Other helpful indicators that carbon monoxide may be present include;
If you suspect that your appliance may be leaking Carbon Monoxide, switch it off immediately, open all doors and windows to ventilate the room and contact a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and check your appliance as soon as possible.
As Carbon Monoxide is produced as a gas it is taken into your body whilst breathing, it is then absorbed into the bloodstream and this is when the poisoning starts. The CO molecules attach themselves to the red blood cells and stop oxygen from being carried around the body.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is not the same as Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and although this is quite a common (and pretty understandable) mistake, there is a big difference between the two gases. CO2 is naturally found in the atmosphere and is produced as a by-product of the human respiratory system while CO is a gas that should not be in our environment and especially not at anywhere near the same levels as CO2.
If you do not think that you need to call the national helpline then you should call a Gas Safe registered engineer to come and check your appliances immediately.