More than 10 million homes across the UK could be at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning according to new research.

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and Wales & West Utilities suggest a staggering 30 per cent of more than 2,000 households surveyed admitted to lacking or being uncertain about having a carbon monoxide (CO) alarm anywhere in their homes.

This prevalent lack of awareness could potentially expose millions to the dangers of a frequently termed 'silent killer'.

Dubbed as such due to its colourless and odourless nature, this poisonous gas is released when fossil fuels such as coal, gas, barbeque charcoal, oil, and wood do not burn properly.

Substantial health threats arise from prolonged exposure to even low levels of CO, making a CO alarm vital in every home for safety reasons.

Annually, about 40 deaths and more than 4,000 serious illnesses occur from CO exposure in the UK.

The symptoms, which could easily be mistaken for the flu or food poisoning, range from headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue and confusion to stomach pain and difficulty breathing.

Unlike the flu, however, CO poisoning does not cause a fever.

Philip Le Shirley, product safety advisor at RoSPA, said: "We urge everyone to take this moment to assess their carbon monoxide defences, which crucially involves ensuring there is a functioning carbon monoxide alarm near to every fuel burning appliance in the home."

He added that in the absence of provisions by landlords, it is crucial that individuals assess their homes to protect against the 'silent killer'.

Meanwhile, Clive Book, head of operations at Wales & West Utilities, emphasised the importance of their partnership with RoSPA in sharing key safety information.

He said: "Our research shows that around one in three homes do not have a carbon monoxide alarm, which is why our partnership with RoSPA is so crucial to enable us to share vital safety messaging about what is commonly touted as ‘the silent killer’."

In Wales, from December 1, 2022, the Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 has mandated landlords to fit working CO alarms in all properties with gas, oil-fired, or solid fuel-burning appliances.

Wales is also under the Building Regulations Document J - England and Wales, requiring a BS EN 50291 Kitemarked Carbon Monoxide alarm in any room with new or replacement solid-fuel equipment.

Landlords are obligated to promptly repair or replace broken alarms when notified.

Non-compliance can result in hefty fines.

Landlords must make sure that properties are fitted with British Standards BS 50291 compliant alarms, and manage any replacements besides handling faulty units.

Likewise, tenants are advised to test their alarms following the manufacturer's instructions.

Aside from regular alarm testing and battery replacements, tenants should also ensure gas appliances are serviced annually by a Gas Safe Registered engineer.

Major issues like persistent alarm malfunctions should be reported to landlords.

RoSPA and Wales & West's carbon monoxide hub provides more information for those keen to learn more about CO safety measures to avoid unnecessary risk of exposure to the silent killer.