What Causes Carbon Monoxide To Leak

What Causes Carbon Monoxide To Leak?

Before we can answer the question of ‘what causes carbon monoxide to leak?’ we first need to understand what carbon monoxide is. Carbon monoxide (CO)  is produced when coal, gas, oil and wood do not burn fully.

Burning charcoal such as on barbeques, running motor vehicles and smoking cigarettes also produce CO gas.

Gas, oil, coal and wood are common sources of fuel used in many household appliances such as:

  • boilers
  • gas fires
  • central heating systems
  • water heaters
  • cookers
  • stoves
  • open fires

What Causes Carbon Monoxide To Leak?

Poorly maintained, incorrectly installed or poorly ventilated household appliances, such as cookers, stoves and central heating boilers, are the most common cause of accidental exposure to CO gas and can be fatal.

The risk of exposure to CO gases from portable devices may also be higher in caravans, boats and mobile homes.

Other possible causes of CO poisoning include:

  • blocked chimneys and flues – this can stop CO escaping, allowing it to reach dangerous levels
  • burning fuel in an unventilated space or room – for example, running a motor vehicle engine, petrol-powered generator or BBQ inside a garage, or a faulty boiler in an enclosed kitchen or cupboard
  • faulty or blocked motor vehicle exhausts – a leak or blockage in the motor vehicles exhaust pipe could lead to a build-up of CO gases
  • paint fumes – some paint removers and cleaning fluids can contain methylene chloride (dichloromethane), which can cause CO poisoning if breathed in
  • smoking shisha pipes in enclosed spaces – shisha pipes burn charcoal and tobacco, which can lead to a build-up of CO in enclosed or unventilated rooms

What to do if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak

If your CO alarm sounds or you suspect a leak:

  • stop using all household appliances, switch them off immediately and open doors and windows to ventilate the property
  • evacuate the property straight away – stay calm and avoid raising your heart rate  
  • call the gas emergency helpline number on 0800 111 999 to report the CO leak incident, or the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) Emergency Gas Safety Advice Line on 0800 300 363
  • do not go back into your home under any circumstances – wait for advice from the emergency services to arrive
  • seek immediate urgent medical help – you may not realise you have been affected by the CO and going outside into fresh air will not automatically treat any exposure by itself
Keep your family safe and call L&W on a local number below and book an appointment to have a CO alarm fitted now or at the time of your gas service.

Wigan Central Heating Engineers 01942 417220
St Helens Central Heating Engineers 01744 776140
Newton Le Willows Central Heating Engineers 01925 394260
Warrington Central Heating Engineers 01925 394260
Runcorn Central Heating Engineers 01925 394260
Widnes Central Heating Engineers 01925 394260
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