ARLA Propertymark are backing Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which runs from 18-24 November aims to raise further awareness of the dangers of carbon monoxide and ensure everybody knows how to protect themselves from the deadly gas.
What are the risks of carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is often referred to as the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t see, hear, smell or taste it.
It is produced when fuels like gas, oil, coal and wood do not burn fully. These are all sources of fuel used in many household appliances, including:
- Gas fires
- Central heating systems
- Water heaters
- Open fires
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are not always obvious, particularly during low-level exposure.
A tension-type headache is the most common symptom of mild carbon monoxide poisoning.
Other symptoms include:
- Feeling and being sick
- Tiredness and confusion
- Stomach pain
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
According to the NHS, the symptoms of exposure to low levels of carbon monoxide can be similar to those of food poisoning or flu, but it doesn’t cause a high temperature.
The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations 2015 came into force in October 2015 and put requirements in place for landlords.
Private sector landlords are required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties and a carbon monoxide alarm in any room containing a solid fuel burning appliance (e.g. a coal fire, wood burning stove). Landlords must make sure the alarms are in working order at the start of each new tenancy.
Local authorities can impose a fine of up to £5,000 where a landlord fails to comply with a remedial notice.
ARLA Propertymark Chief Executive, David Cox commented on Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, saying:
“In the right hands, gas is safe, however if things go wrong, gas appliances can cause many problems. With no smell or taste, carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer, causing around 60 deaths a year in England and Wales.
“Landlords have a legal duty to keep tenants safe by maintaining gas appliances and ensuring a gas safety check is carried out every 12 months by a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer. As a second line of defence, landlords should fit an audible carbon monoxide alarm in rented properties, but this is no substitute for regular servicing of all gas appliances. However, it’s now time for the Government to make best practice legal and enforce compulsory carbon monoxide alarms in every rented property. At the moment, they only need to be in rooms with solid fuel burning, but we should be doing all we can to protect tenants.”
ARLA Propertymark. (2019). Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2019. Accessible: https://www.arla.co.uk/news/november-2019/carbon-monoxide-awareness-week-2019/. Last Accessed: 21 November 2019.
NHS. (2019). Carbon Monoxide Poisoning. Accessible: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/carbon-monoxide-poisoning/. Last Accessed: 21 November 2019.