Around 50 people per year die from carbon monoxide poisoning
As people begin to use their central heating systems with the onset of winter, the chance of a leak starts to rise.
Carbon monoxide remains the most common cause of fatal poisoning in Britain today, and because CO is colourless and odourless, leaks can be difficult to spot.
Homeowners need to understand the daily risks of CO poisoning and to show that by following a few simple steps, the risk of CO leaks can be greatly reduced.
Just by investing in a good quality carbon monoxide alarm, you can rest assured that you are protected against the risk of CO emissions in the same way that having a smoke alarm can protect you against the risk of fire.
Around 50 people per year die from carbon monoxide poisoning, often caused by failure or damage to gas appliances, which prevents fuel from burning properly. Checking appliances regularly for damage and having your boiler professionally serviced just once a year could also significantly reduce the risk of CO poisoning, as a qualified engineer will be able to check for damages or malfunctions and detect any early problems.
“Homeowners need to understand the daily risks of CO poisoning and to show that by following a few simple steps, the risk of CO leaks can be greatly reduced.
Older boilers are also a greater risk when it comes to CO leaks as they’re more likely to be inefficient and malfunction, so homeowners with boilers more than ten years old should consider replacing them with a new A-rated boiler.
Carbon monoxide alarms can come pre-fitted with batteries so no installation or mains power is required. The kite-marked alarms, which are fully approved by all European standards, come with a six year guarantee and an automatic sensor adjustment with a continuous self-test function to ensure complete accuracy. The CO alarm should be positioned in the same room as the gas appliance or boiler and replaced after six years
Homeowners can also reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by making sure their home is well ventilated and by looking out for signs of a leak, which can include discoloration around the edges of the gas appliance; if there’s a boiler, look out for a yellow rather than a blue flame and increased condensation.
Why not follow the following steps to help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide in your home:
Ensure that your appliance has been professionally installed by a gas safe registered engineer.
Make sure your boiler is serviced at least once a year by a gas safe registered engineer who can test for damages or malfunctions.
Ensure your house is well ventilated as carbon monoxide will be produced in greater quantities if flues and vents are blocked.
Carbon monoxide alarm
Invest in a carbon monoxide alarm, which can detect the early signs of a leak and help you to deal with the problem quickly and effectively.
Look out for signs of a leak
o Discolouring around the edge of your boiler
o A yellow rather than blue flame
o Increased condensation where the boiler is installed.
Early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to a cold or flu and can include:
· A headache
· Feeling nauseous and dizzy
· Feeling tired
· Abdominal or chest pain
· Shortness of breath
Some symptoms can occur a few days or even months after exposure to carbon monoxide, such as memory loss and problems with coordination, and anyone experiencing these symptoms should visit their doctor.