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Important Facts about Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas that has no colour, smell or taste.

When inhaled it prevents the blood from absorbing oxygen. At high levels it can kill in as little as 3 minutes. At low levels it causes illness.

It can be produced by any type of fuel being burned - coal, turf, oil, gas or wood.

Harmful levels can be produced by:

  • Badly installed, faulty, damaged or blocked heating appliances, chimney or flue
  • Blocked or insufficient ventiliation
  • Barbeques
  • Petrol-driven machinery
  • Improper use of fuel-burning appliances e.g. using a cooker to heat a room, bringing a BBQ indoors or burning rubbish in a fireplace or stove

Some tips on Prevention:

  • Ensure that all fuel-burning appliances are installed by a qualified installer
  • Get your boiler and any other fuel-burning appliances serviced once a year
  • Ger your chimney swept once a year
  • Keep flues and chimneys clear at all times
  • Never block room ventilators
  • Use appliances correctly and for their intended purpose
  • Ensure that you fit carbon monoxide alarms in every room that has a fuel-burning appliance and one within 16ft of every bedroom

Signs of Carbon Monoxide:

  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhoea
  • Dizziness
  • Lethargy

If you suspect that you or someone you know is experiencing some of the above symptoms, visit a doctor immediately and ask to be checked for carbon monoxide poisoning. Ventilate the area immediately, stop using fuel-burning appliances and get everyone into the fresh air.

This information is extracted from a booklet by Gas Networks Ireland. Call into one of our stores in Bandon, Kinsale or Enniskeane to pick up a copy or go to for more information and advice.