Carbon monoxide safety

You can protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning in your home by knowing what it is and taking reasonable steps.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odourless, tasteless and colourless gas produced when carbon-based fuels like wood, coal, oil or gas are burned without enough air supply.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms can develop very quickly or over a number of days or months. Symptoms include:

  • headaches (the most common symptom)
  • feeling sick and dizzy
  • feeling tired and confused
  • stomach pain
  • difficulty breathing

What to do

If you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning, you should:

  1. open the windows and doors and leave the property
  2. urgently seek medical advice
  3. call the gas emergency service on 0800 111 999
  4. for Southwark council installed appliances, call us on 020 7525 2600

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

The best way to protect yourself is to have all gas and fossil fuel appliances and flues/chimneys serviced regularly by a Gas Safe registered engineer.

 You should:

  • make sure there's enough fresh air in the room containing your gas appliance
  • ensure chimneys/flues aren't blocked and vents aren't covered
  • get your chimney swept from top to bottom at least once a year by a qualified sweep
  • fit carbon monoxide alarms on your property and regularly test them

If you're a council tenant or leaseholder, you can find out more information and advice from our gas safety page. If you're a private resident, go to the National Gas Safe website.

For general information and advice on carbon monoxide, go to the following websites:

Page last updated: 23 May 2022


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