Ask Age NI

Age NI - raising awareness of issues facing the older generation
Age NI - raising awareness of issues facing the older generation

Should I be concerned about Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

Carbon monoxide is a potentially fatal and highly poisonous gas with no colour, taste or smell. It can be released by appliances that use gas, wood, oil and coal which have not been properly maintained. Even in low levels it can cause serious damage to your health.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can be mistaken for flu like symptoms so look out for headaches, nausea, dizziness, shortness of breath, collapse and, in extreme cases, loss of consciousness. If you feel unwell, open doors and windows and go outside to the fresh air. Seek medical advice straightaway.

An audible carbon monoxide detector can help save lives as it alerts you immediately to any dangerous gases in the home. You can buy a carbon monoxide alarm from most DIY stores and major supermarkets. Prices start from around £20 and they are easy to install.

Be safe and have all boilers and fuel burning appliances safety checked and serviced on a yearly basis by a qualified engineer.

Gas Safe Register, 0800 408 5500

Northern Ireland Coal Advisory Service 0845 712 5300

OFTEC Oil Firing Technical Association, 0845 65 85 080

Northern Ireland Association of Chimney Sweeps

I’m struggling to pay for fuel. What help is available?

Make sure you claim all the financial help you are entitled to by calling the Age NI Advice Service for a free, confidential benefits check on 08088 087575. For up-to-date information on fuel payment methods and fuel stamps, and to find out what schemes operate in your area, visit and learn more about spreading the cost of fuel.

If you receive Pension Guarantee Credit, you are automatically paid an extra Cold Weather Payment when the temperature is at 0°C or below freezing for seven days in a row.

Heating your home is easier and cheaper if it is well insulated. Keeping the warmth in with good insulation may save you up to £150 per year. Contact your energy supplier if you are having trouble paying your bills. Companies should not disconnect all-pensioner households during the winter months.

Visit for more information and advice on dealing with the challenges of winter.

Age NI could help you or someone you know – call the Age NI Advice Service on

Freephone 0808 808 7575 today for a free benefits check.

Find out about older people’s networks in your area by visiting