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 to see if carbon monoxide could be a problem?

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
dizziness
extreme tiredness
sickness

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.


  

4 Responses to “Carbon Monoxide”

  • Lorraine Smith says:

    I have been waking up with headaches every morninng and feeling sick, but when i leave the house the headaches ease,do you think i have got carbon monoxide in my house?

  • Boiler Systems says:

    The government Health and Safety Executive site states that if you suspect Carbon Monoxide poisoning the symptoms to look out for include:

    * tiredness
    * drowsiness
    * headaches
    * giddiness
    * nausea
    * vomiting
    * pains in the chest
    * breathlessness
    * stomach pains
    * erratic behaviour
    * visual problems.

    For more information you can also visit NHS direct.

    Every year approximately 20 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed or maintained. Many others also suffer ill health. Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer and must be taken very seriously.

    If you or your family experience any of the above symptoms and you believe CO may be involved, you must seek urgent medical advice. Your doctor will need to test you for a blood or breath sample. Be aware, CO quickly leaves the blood and tests may be inaccurate if taken more than four hours after exposure has ceased.

    You should also urgently call in a CORGI trained professional to check your appliances today.

    You should take great care when entering your home. Open the windows to improve air flow, switch off all gas appliances and switch off the main gas supply. If there is someone in your home at the present time you should instruct them to take these actions without delay.

    If you have a boiler service agreement you should contact them on the telephone number you have been supplied with and ask them to check your gas appliances.

  • leona parker says:

    hi there

    i have a question for you.
    recenlty i moved into a new house with a combi boiler, the boiler is in the cupboard in our hall next to your bedroom, we do not have a carbon monoxide detector, should we have one?
    can you pls let me know
    many thanks
    leona

  • Boiler Systems says:

    A carbon monoxide alarm is a secondary line of defence, having your boiler regularly serviced by a CORGI qualified gas engineer is the most important preventative measure you can take.

    One advantage of a portable alarm is that you can take it with you when you go on holiday. Whilst instances of carbon monoxide poisoning on holiday are rare you do not know the service history of a boiler or water heater in any apartment you stay in.


  

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