Don't Risk Carbon Monoxide Poisoning this Winter!

With the temperatures dropping and the winds ripping the last of the autumn leaves from the trees, it definitely feels as though winter has finally arrived.

It’s time to crank up the heating, bring out the cosy winter jumpers, and snuggle down in an evening, with a warming cup of spiced tea! Mmm!

As blissful as this sounds though, being cosy can come at a risk if you have an unsafe gas appliance or open fire!

Carbon Monoxide is a silent and odourless killer, which is a byproduct of incomplete combustion.

This toxic gas can enter our homes via furnaces, wood burners and open fires which aren’t properly ventilated, as well as through faulty boilers and gas appliances which aren’t well-maintained or properly installed.

Every year in the UK, around 50 people will die from carbon monoxide poisoning – and last year my Dad had a close call himself, when this toxic gas flooded his home.

A week before the incident happened, I visited my Dad at his cottage and (for some unknown reason) I asked him about his carbon monoxide alarm.

It turned out that he’d hidden it away in a drawer upstairs, because he thought that it looked ugly!

After convincing him that death by carbon monoxide poisoning would be far uglier though, he thankfully brought it back down and put it in his lounge – where he has the cutest open fire!

Carbon Monoxide Risks

A week passed by, and then late one night, I had a phone call.

It was my Dad, his voice trembling with panic. “My carbon monoxide alarm went off”, he said. “I was going to take the batteries out because it wouldn’t stop bleeping, but I phoned the fire brigade instead – and now I’ve been evacuated from my home!”.

I rolled my eyes at the thought of him almost taking the batteries out, before racing over there to find my Dad’s street illuminated with blue flashing lights.

My Dad was stood out on the pavement looking concerned, and a small army of firemen were traipsing in and out of his house.

One of them noticed me, and removed his breathing apparatus to explain the situation. It turned out that his chimney wasn’t working sufficiently, and high levels of carbon monoxide had built up in his house.

Thankfully, my Dad was okay – but he wouldn’t have been if it wasn’t for his ‘ugly and annoying’ carbon monoxide alarm, which literally saved his life! 💜

Carbon monoxide is a completely odourless gas, which can build up quickly in your home – as well as in your bloodstream, which prevents oxygen from getting to your cells! (This is what makes it so deadly!)

Symptoms may also be ambiguous and mimic things like the flu, so it can be very hard to detect.

If you live in a house with an open fire, wood burner or furnace, or you have a gas boiler, gas fire or other gas appliances, then I would strongly urge you to invest in a carbon monoxide alarm.

I would also recommend having your chimney swept often (if you have one) and getting regular maintenance of your heating systems via a Gas Safe registered professional.

If you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning then please evacuate your property immediately and call 999 (or the relevant number for the emergency services in your country!)

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Breathlessness
  • Dizziness
  • Erratic Behaviour
  • General Lethargy

If you can, please share this post with your family and friends, to help raise awareness and keep us all safe this winter!


This post does not contain medical advice. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning please seek professional medical attention immediately. This post is not sponsored but does contain affiliate links. All thoughts are my own.