Carbon Monoxide

Can my boiler leak carbon monoxide?

A well maintained gas appliance will produce, dioxide as a normal byproduct. If you save money on the annual servicing for the appliance you run the risk of carbon monoxide being produced. The underlying reason for this is that gas appliances are designed to operate with a certain volume of oxygen. If the ventilation is obstructed for any reason the level of oxygen in the combustion process can decrease and appliance suddenly turns into a killer.

With high standards of boiler servicing and strict ventilation regulations the number of people killed by Carbon Monoxide has reduced to 30 people each year although many more are seriously injured.

Can I visually check my gas appliances for carbon monoxide?

One way of having a simple look for potential combustion problems is to investigate for signs of staining, soot or dirty marks on or around gas boilers, fires and water heaters. You can also check pilot lights and other gas flames that normally burn blue through an inspection chamber if fitted. If the flame changes from blue to yellow or orange this could mean that carbon monoxide is present and you should have the appliance inspected by a professional.

How can I look after my family?

As mentioned carbon monoxide gas regrettably is produced when a gas flame burns without the right amount of oxygen in the surrounding atmosphere. Assuming that a ventilation audit of your proposed installation was completed before your boiler was fitted the best defense to this is the regular and expert servicing of any gas appliances that you have including your boiler.

Make sure your central heating boiler is maintained annually by a CORGI-registered engineer. As a second, very important, line of defense, fit a British Standard approved carbon monoxide detector with an audible alarm.

Whilst it might be tempting cover cold air vents in the middle of winter, as they are creating draughts, this would be very foolish and they most be kept open. Also regularly inspect for plants which might be growing near a vent outside as over the course of a year they can also block them. And also take particular care that your chimney doesn’t become blocked with birds’ nests or other debris.

What are the early signals of carbon monoxide?

Caution, caution, caution of the bywords if you suspect production of carbon monoxide. Do not read this website and its postings or other articles and then declare yourself and fax it to adjudicate upon carbon monoxide issue. Take action to protect yourself and your family quickly.

Any person in your family can suffer the effects of carbon monoxide no matter whether they are young or old. This also applies to household pets.

The symptoms exhibited by carbon monoxide inhalation can often be confused with other flu like illnesses and include:

Persistent headaches
Extreme tiredness

If any of these symptoms occur, particularly when using a gas heating or a hot water appliance, you should immediately stop using the appliance, open the windows to improve ventilation, get family members out of the house and get the appliance checked by a CORGI registered engineer.

Can anyone get a detector on the high Street?

Recommended detectors are certified to stringent British Standards and have an audible, very loud alarm. Fine year battery lifetimes are a good future with a test facility to ensure that the alarm is capable of giving a loud early signal.

Less effective detectors work on the principle where a coloured mark on the detector paper changes colour over time when dangerous carbon monoxide gas is detected. these are the detectors of choice and have a limited lifespan, typically six months.

This means that you need to make a note to substitute them regularly. Most importantly they do not have the very loud alarm and will not wake you is there is an excess of carbon monoxide produced when you are asleep at night.