Kohlenmonoxid & Erdgas: wie Sie mit giftigen Gasen zuhause umgehen © shutterstock – by brizmaker

Fire protection guide Why are some gases so dangerous?

Learn how to deal with toxic gases in the home and prevent gas poisoning.

In this part of our ABUS fire protection guide, you will find answers to the following questions:


Some gases are life-threatening to humans: for example carbon monoxide, which can be produced in fires or combustion processes in fireplaces, stoves and heating systems. Or natural gas, a gas mixture with a high methane content, which is used to heat almost every second home in Germany (as of 2019, BDEW study "Wie heizt Deutschland").

Be careful with damaged lines
As long as the gas stays where it belongs - in the open air or the gas pipes - nothing can usually happen. As soon as a pipe has the slightest leak or a fire breaks out, caution is called for. We show you how you can protect yourself.

In Germany, the law requires that fireplaces, chimneys or gas boilers be checked regularly and repaired if necessary. So normally our heating systems and stoves work reliably and safely. However, gases in the home always carry a certain risk:

Carbon monoxide, CO for short, is a poisonous gas that can neither be seen, tasted nor smelled. The gas is dangerous when combustion processes take place in closed rooms and the exhaust gases cannot be properly discharged. Sources of danger in the household are, for example, fireplaces, inadequately maintained or defective gas boilers, heating systems or a backflow of exhaust gases due to blocked exhaust and supply air passages. Carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness within a few breaths and, in the worst case, death by suffocation - without us noticing.

This is what sufferers suspect is behind carbon monoxide poisoning
Those affected continue to breathe without discomfort and usually do not notice anything apart from non-specific symptoms. Some suspect that they are coming down with the flu or a cold, or that they have eaten something bad. That is why they usually do not see a doctor.

These can be symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

  • General malaise
  • Irritability, confusion
  • Headache, dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath, cramps
  • In the course of the poisoning, lips and cheeks turn distinctly red.
  • Unconsciousness often occurs later

What to do if Co2 poisoning is suspected?

  • If possible: Switch off the appliance
  • Leave the room immediately - it is best to go out into the fresh air
  • Call the fire brigade and the ambulance

The combustible gas methane serves as the main component of natural gas. Around half of the households in Germany use it for cooking and heating. (German Association of Energy and Water Industries [BDEW], as of 01/2021). In combination with oxygen, methane gas is highly flammable. Anything that causes electric sparks or flames can lead to an explosion in the event of a gas leak. Experts refer to such a case as a "deflagration". In this scenario, flipping on a light switch can blow up a flat.

How can I detect leaking gas in time?
Natural gas consists of a gas mixture with a high proportion of methane gas. Since all gases are odourless, a scent is added to the natural gas used for heating and cooking. This provides the typical gas smell or the smell of "rotten eggs". Nevertheless, gas leaks or leaking pipes often go unnoticed. For example, when we are asleep: our sense of smell is also asleep then.

When prices for gas and oil rise, many private households become inventive: barbecues, camping cookers, radiant heaters or fire baskets move into flats and houses. But these supposedly inexpensive heating alternatives are life-threatening indoors. They extract oxygen from the air and produce toxic carbon monoxide fumes. There is not only an acute risk of fire, but also of poisoning. So: no experiments with heating!

So that you can breathe a sigh of relief and prevent the invisible danger of toxic gases, the gas alarms from ABUS take care of your loved ones and you. Such hazard alarms detect gas leaks in your home at an early stage. Similar to smoke detectors, gas detectors also ensure with a loud warning tone that you are alerted and remain able to act.

Which gas detector is the right one?

CO alarms warn you when the concentration of carbon monoxide in a room rises significantly above normal levels.

They are useful if you have fireplaces, gas cookers, fireplaces, oil heating, gas heaters or boilers in your home. You should install one CO detector each in rooms with the corresponding appliances, in the hallway and in the living room and bedroom.

More about the CO alarm

The CO detector COWM510 warns you in good time of elevated levels © shutterstock - by brizmaker

Natural gas detectors are suitable if you cook or heat your home with natural gas.

They help protect against gas explosions or poisoning. Methane gas is lighter than air and therefore first rises upwards within a room and then settles downwards. Therefore, such a gas detector should be installed above a possible gas leakage at a distance of approx. 30 cm from the ceiling.

More about the natural gas detector

Our natural gas detector GWM100ME warns you in good time © shutterstock - by Ivanka Kunianska

CO2 detectors reliably signal when the carbon dioxide concentration is elevated indoors. Whether in the office or in your own home: with CO2 detectors, bad air doesn't stand a chance.

In addition, the COVID 19 pandemic has shown how important it can be to keep an eye on air quality. The detectors also make headaches and malaise caused by high CO2 concentrations a thing of the past.

More about the AirSecure CO2 detector

Teaser- CO2 Warning alarm
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