Remember Carbon Monoxide Safety this Summer
The sun is finally shining which means your heating and boiler are probably the last thing on your mind. But most of us still use our boilers every day during the summer for hot water, and if your boiler is faulty, wasn’t installed correctly or hasn’t been maintained, it could be leaking carbon monoxide, and this could be a killer.
Although this may sound dramatic, boilers that leak carbon monoxide can kill – fast. According to the HSE statistics every year around 7 people die from CO poisoning caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. If your boiler isn’t correctly installed, maintained or ventilated they can produce carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, tasteless, poisonous gas produced by incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels, including gas, oil, wood and coal. When carbon monoxide enters the body, it prevents the blood from bringing oxygen to cells, tissues, and organs.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, drowsiness, nausea, breathlessness and stomach pains. These signs are hard to spot and can be confused with tiredness or a cold, and carbon monoxide, known as the silent killer, can’t be seen or smelt.
An annual boiler service will go a long way in helping to avoid deadly faults, but there are a number of other ways that people can keep themselves safe.
Maintaining and servicing appliances – Boilers, cookers, heating systems and appliances should be installed and regularly serviced by a reputable, registered engineer. Anyone carrying out work on installations and appliances in your home must be registered with a relevant association, such as the:
- Gas Safe Register (for gas appliances)
- Heating Equipment Testing and Approval Scheme (HETAS) (for solid fuel appliances)
- Oil Firing Technical Association (OFTEC) (for oil appliances)
Warmer Homes Heating and Renewables is Gase Safe Registered and all our engineers have the appropriate training and qualifications needed to install and service gas boilers.
Maintaining chimneys and flues – Make sure all chimneys and flues are swept regularly by a qualified sweep who’s a member of the:
- National Association of Chimney Sweeps (NACS)
- Guild of Master Chimney Sweeps
- Association of Professional Independent Chimney Sweeps (APICS)
Carbon Monoxide Alarm – Install a carbon monoxide alarm in your home to alert you if there’s a carbon monoxide leak. Please remember, an alarm isn’t a substitute for maintaining and regularly servicing household appliances.
What should you do if you do suspect a Carbon Monoxide leak in your home?
- Call the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 111 999
- Switch off the appliance and shut off the gas supply at the meter control valve
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the room
- Visit your GP and tell him/her that you believe you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide