Protection against carbon monoxide

Protection against carbon monoxide © by-studio /

No question: Cuddling up cosily in the evening in front of a fire, accompanied by the family, a good book or your faithful canine friend – the very definition of comfort. A hot and crackling fire is never more appealing than in autumn and winter, when the mercury starts falling.

Your fireplace may be a death trap

But beware - even if you check it regularly: Your fireplace may become a death trap. If the combustion process is hindered (due to insufficient oxygen), the carbon monoxide formed as a result enters the room. Admittedly, the total number of deaths each year in Germany is relatively low at around ten. Nevertheless: In 2013, chimney sweeps revealed that nationwide, around 130,000 gas fire installations in private households recorded exhaust emissions in the highly harmful range (exceeding 1,000 ppm/parts per million). In which case, any affected devices have to be promptly repaired. But additional protection, for example, offered via a CO warning device, is also worth considering.

Facts and figures in Europe*

Country comparison: Deaths after carbon monoxide poisoning

Germany: Around ten deaths p.a.
UK: Around 40 deaths p.a.
Spain: 154 deaths in 2011
Belgium: Around 150 deaths p.a.
Hungary: Around 50 deaths p.a.
Poland: Around 150 deaths p.a.
France: Around 400 deaths p.a.

* Sources: National Health Service/UK, German Federation of Chimney Sweepers (ZIV)

Sources of danger

Carbon monoxide, known as CO for short, is a toxic gas, which cannot be seen, tasted or smelt. It results, among other things, from incomplete combustion processes of fossil fuels. 



Have your chimneys, fireplaces and all other relevant devices such as heating systems checked by a specialist regularly. 



Based on the non-specific symptoms, it is generally difficult to detect whether carbon monoxide poisoning has taken place. 


Questions & answers

Security glossary