Understanding the Threat of Carbon Monoxide in the Home

You may have seen the recent media campaign featuring a banjo-playing chicken singing about the importance of carbon monoxide detection in the home. You may also have been confused  and possibly distracted, like us, as to why this chicken was the right character to inform about a very serious danger that threatens the homes of Irish citizens.


So let’s get to the facts – carbon monoxide kills on average 1 to 2 people per year in Ireland. This is a relatively low number, but what is most distressing about carbon monoxide related deaths is that they are entirely needless and avoidable. Simple measures can be implemented in the home to dispel any threats that may exist.


But what is Carbon monoxide? Well, it is an odourless, colourless, poisonous gas that is virtually undetectable to the human senses. It is often dubbed the ‘silent killer’ because of its almost unnoticeable presence. Carbon monoxide is produced when there is when there is a lack of air for the combustion process of fossil fuels, mostly due to a faulty appliance. In non-fatal circumstances, this release of CO (chemical symbol for carbon monoxide) can make people who inhale the substance feel nauseous and ill. Some of the symptoms of this include:


  • Random headaches, chest pains or muscular weakness
  • Sickness, diarrhoea or pains in the stomach
  • Sudden dizziness when standing up
  • General tiredness


It is important that if you or members of your household are experiencing these symptoms, that they go outside and inhale fresh air straight away. After doing this, it’s vital that a carbon monoxide detector is installed as soon as possible.


But not letting it get to this stage is the key, and simple safety precautions can be followed in order to ensure that such drastic occurrences do not happen.


  • Ensure all appliances are correctly installed
  • Make sure rooms are ventilated and that vents are never blocked
  • Make sure all chimneys are regularly cleaned and cleared
  • Do not use an appliance if you believe it to be faulty
  • Regularly maintain and inspect appliance, flues, chimneys and vents
  • Install an effective carbon monoxide detector in your home.


We hope that this information provides you with enough knowledge to tackle any carbon monoxide threat that may manifest itself in your home. It is important that this knowledge is universally available and widely known. It is a serious issue, and probably deserves a more serious ambassador than a musical chicken.

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