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Staying warm this winter – be mindful of the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning

With winter firmly upon us, home owners and tenants alike will be switching on the heating to keep warm. Whether you have a gas boiler, water heater or coal fire, it is important that they have been fitted by a registered Gas Safety Engineer and are checked each year to ensure they are Gas Safe.

Unfortunately in the UK, people seek medical attention following carbon monoxide poisoning and in some cases can lead to deaths. Carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless which means it’s hard to know if you are being exposed to it. Unfortunately in some cases carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to brain injuries.

Symptoms of breathing in carbon monoxide

Those affected by poisoning will suffer from:

  1. Headaches
  2. Dizziness
  3. Lethargic
  4. Shortness of breath

It is important that you seek medical assistance if you feel that you experience these types of symptoms. You may require a blood test. Switch off any gas appliances and get them checked out immediately.

Living in rented accommodation

For those who rent their properties you should be aware that from 1st October 2015, a landlord must fit a smoke alarm on every storey of the rented property and a carbon monoxide alarm must now be fitted in every room with a solid fuel burning appliance. Landlords have a responsibility to inspect gas appliances annually and they require a gas safety certificate. As a tenant make sure you are provided with a copy of this and if unsure ask.

It is possible that you can claim compensation as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning if you can establish that someone was legally responsible, such as a landlord. If you are a home owner and suffer from carbon monoxide poisoning, then you may be able to pursue a claim against the supplier of the gas appliance or even the manufacturer.