What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. It can be given off by appliances that burn fossil fuels such as gas, coal, wood or oil, if they’re not working properly, if the flue is blocked in any way, or if the room is not properly ventilated.
What is Carbon Monoxide danger?
Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, which makes it difficult to detect. However its effects are deadly. On average, 50 people a year are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty heating appliances.
What are the main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Most cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to inadequate ventilation or poor maintenance of appliances, blocked or leaky flues and chimneys. Chimneys can become blocked for various reasons. It could be as a result of birds nesting on the chimney, or possible degradation of the flue. A blocked flue can lead to carbon monoxide leaking into your home.
Who is most at risk ?
Some people mistakenly think that it is only gas fueled heating systems which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning – in fact, it can happen with any fossil fuel system if the system, which included both the appliance and the flue, is faulty or the room is not properly ventilated. Also, some people associate carbon monoxide poisoning with rented accommodation – in fact, more people are killed in owner occupied rather than rented properties.
Safe use of gas fires
Gas appliances operate safely when they are installed, operated and maintained correctly.
It is best only to buy appliances from reputable dealers. Make sure they meet the appropriate British or European Safety requirements. Avoid buying second-hand appliances if you can. If you do buy second-hand, choose appliances that have been tested for safety. Insist on a written guarantee from the dealer and a copy of the user instructions. Never install or reconnect a gas appliance yourself.
By law, gas appliances must be fitted and maintained only by an installer who is registered with CORGI (Council for Registered Gas Installers). If the appliance is fitted to an existing chimney, this should first be swept. Any newly installed appliance in a bathroom must be of the room-sealed type.