All combustion appliances, including your household boiler, oven hob and gas fire have the ability to produce carbon monoxide. Known as the ‘silent killer’ Carbon Monoxide (or CO) cannot be seen or smelt and this alone should be enough to ensure that you regularly seek the assistance of a plumber to service your gas appliances on at least an annual basis.
UK Government figures indicate that approximately 15 people die every year from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. Even people who are lucky enough to escape the ultimate fate can be exposed to this colourless toxic gas which can inflict paralysis and brain damage if the person breathed it in over a long period.
What Can I Do?
- DO install a CO alarm. It is important to note that smoke alarms and CO alarms are different. A smoke alarm will not detect the presence of CO in the atmosphere
- DON’T forget to ensure that a CO alarm is installed in every room in which a gas appliance is present as well as ensuring that all purpose-built ventilation areas remain unblocked
- DO switch off any gas appliances at the meter control valve if you believe that CO is being released. Ensure all doors and windows, then leave the property to consult your GP
- DON’T settle for anything less than Gas Safe Registered engineer if you are unsure about a gas appliance’s operation or instalment. GSR also offers advice about CO alarms
- DO remain vigilant when burning ANY carbon-based fuel appliance, including oil, wood and coal, as well as gas.
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