CARBON MONOXIDE AND YOUR STOVE
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas produced by burning carbon based fuels such as
gas, coal, oil and wood. It has no taste, colour or odour and victims of Carbon Monoxide poisoning
are generally unaware that they are being poisoned until they become very ill and are
subsequently diagnosed with it – if they are lucky. In some instances every year Carbon Monoxide
poisoning very quickly proves fatal for a number of its victims – some of them stove users. The
problem is that many of the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are often mistaken for flue
or food poisoning and include headaches, dizziness, fatigue and weakness, so they can tend to go
It is very important to everyone at The Stove Yard that all of our customers are fully aware of the
potential risks of exposure to Carbon monoxide from operating wood burning and multi fuel
stoves. These risks are dramatically increased under the following circumstances:
If a Carbon Monoxide detector has not been fitted
From October 2010 it became a requirement of UK Building Regulations
to fit a CO detector whenever a stove is installed.
If the stove is of poor quality – even if it is new
Trading Standards through a high profile Government funded initiative in
conjunction with the Stove Industry Alliance (of which The Stove Yard is a
founding member) and Hetas, later this year is set to highlight the
potential dangers of a proliferation of rogue non-CE tested stoves and
stoves which purport to be CE tested and are clearly not, many of which
are unfortunately available through a well known auction website.
If the stove is poorly installed and does not work correctly
It is the householder’s legal responsibility to ensure that the stove
installation complies with all local Building Regulations (see our section
on Stove Installation). These regulations have developed over many
years and have been written to ensure that stove installations are carried
out in a safe and practical manner. The facts unfortunately confirm that if
you install a stove yourself then you are potentially increasing the risks of
your exposure to CO poisoning.
If the stove has not been regularly maintained and checked for
These checks are simple and good manufacturers will provide a timescale
and a list of items to check with instructions on how to replace any
If the chimney or flue becomes clogged or blocked
This can happen much quicker than people realise if damp unseasoned
wood or soot-producing bituminous coal has been regularly used.
Clogging can also occur after continuous or regular long periods of
‘slumber’ or low overnight burning and, of course, if you don’t regularly
sweep your flue.
If there is not enough ventilation and fresh air in the room
Building Regulations set strict criteria about the ventilation requirements
for stove installations. Since October 2010, even sub-5kW stoves require
some form of fixed ventilation when fitted in houses built after 2008.
If the stove is operated in the same room as an extractor fan (eg.
in a kitchen)
This is not allowed under UK Building Regulations, and most stove
manufacturers’ operating instructions, for the simple reason that as the
stove’s fire dies down and the effectiveness of flue draught is reduced,
the ‘pull’ of an extractor fan could potentially become stronger than the
pull of the flue system resulting in smoke and deadly CO being drawn
from the stove.
Fitting a compliant Carbon Monoxide detector will certainly go a long way to reducing the
potential risks and even if you comply with all of the above, you should always remain aware of
the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Your Academy chimney sweep will offer any extra advice you may need. For an outlay of just few
pounds you can be assured of a high level of protection and detection when having a C0 detector
CARBON MONOXIDE AND YOUR STOVE