Carbon Monoxide poisoning kills 50 people a year in Britain and seriously injures hundreds more. With many more cases going undetected, unreported and untreated.
Carbon Monoxide is emitted from the burning of carbon fuels like, wood, charcoal, gas, and coal, due to inadequate oxygen supply. The burning of all these types of fuels can cause Carbon Monoxide poisoning, not just gas fires or boilers, as a lot of people presume. If you use oil based heating, a wood burner or natural gas at home or at work, you should be aware of the dangers.
Incorrectly installed appliances, poor ventilation and badly maintained equipment can all be the cause of Carbon Monoxide poisoning in the home.
Some answers to commonly asked questions about Carbon Monoxide Poisoning are given below:
What Are The Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The symptoms are very similar to many other ailments including flu or the common cold. The usual symptoms include: breathlessness, tiredness, nausea, dizziness, headaches, stomach pains, vomiting, chest pains, erratic behaviour, blurred vision and other visual problems.
What Are The Dangers?
You may be at risk if your room doesn’t have proper ventilation, or the flue or chimney is blocked.
If your appliances haven’t been installed and maintained by a registered CORGI engineer, they may have been installed incorrectly. This could mean Carbon Monoxide being present in the air.
Damaged or poorly maintained appliances can also lead to emissions of Carbon Monoxide.
Is There A Way To Detect Carbon Monoxide In The Home?
Some signs to look out for include:
- Brown or yellow staining around your appliances.
- Black sooty marks near a fire.
- The pilot light frequently going out.
- An increase of condensation on windows.
- A musty sooty smell.
- The flame from your appliance is yellow or orange instead of blue.
A Carbon Monoxide (CO) detector is the best way to check for any signs of fumes circulating in your home, an alarm is set off when any CO is present in the air. These detectors are readily available in most DIY and electrical stores. Many energy suppliers offer discounts on detectors and in some cases will give them free of charge to older people.
What Steps Can I Take To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
If you take care of your appliances and have them regularly checked and serviced by a qualified engineer then the risk of Carbon Monoxide emissions will greatly reduce.
Chimneys and flues should be cleaned at least once a year as they can become blocked by debris.
Don’t use a gas oven as a heating source in the home, this leads to a build up of Carbon monoxide. Charcoal grills, portable camp gas stoves and barbecues should never be used indoors either, as Carbon Monoxide will be produced.
If I find Carbon Monoxide In My Home What Should I Do?
Switch the appliance off immediately and don’t use it until it has been checked and given the all clear by an engineer.
Open all your doors and windows to help clear the air. Don’t sleep in the room where the fault is until it is clear of Carbon Monoxide.
Call the gas Emergency Service 24 hour helpline-(0800 111 999)
If you have any health concerns visit your doctor and tell him your symptoms. Explain that there has been Carbon Monoxide present in your home and ask for a blood or breath test.
If you already have CO detector don’t forget to check the alarm at least once a month to make sure it is working. Replace the batteries regularly. Some detectors don’t have an alarm, but change colour when CO is detected, make sure you know which type you’ve bought.
If you are thinking of buying a detector look for one that clearly display a BS 7860 label to show it complies with UK safety standards.