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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Author: Tom Norris

Boiler Safety (1)Carbon Monoxide is an extremely toxic gas and can’t be smelled or tasted. This gas can be created when a boiler is functioning with insufficient oxygen supplied to the combustion chamber. Carbon Dioxide is the typical output from a boiler but this can be superseded by Carbon Monoxide with decreased ventilation or a blocked flue. Following the implementation of regular boiler servicing and government regulations governing ventilation levels deaths from carbon monoxide gas have been maintained at 30 each year although there are more injuries from poisoning.


How can I take steps to reduce the risks of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

The fundamental cause of carbon monoxide output is lack of ventilation to a gas flame. Checking the constituents of the exhaust gases should comprise a standard function of a gas appliance maintenance inspection from a trained engineer and this will give early warning of any ventilating system issues. Ensure your central heating boiler is maintained each year by a Gas Safe Register engineer.

Carbon monoxide sensors can give a warning of irregular carbon monoxide levels, models with a loud warning signal are the best at warning the inhabitants of the household. Air ventilation bricks and panels should be kept clear and checked throughout the year to be sure that the designed airflow is maintained to your gas appliances. Gas appliances and boilers may not be utilised in the summertime but air vents can become blocked at this time through the growth of plants and flora in the garden, this is a possible problem which you should keep in mind. Chimney ventilation systems can become blocked in the summer by a birdnests and you may not notice if a fire is not used in the summertime so a visual review should be incorporated in your household maintenance programs.

Boiler Installation (1)Know the difference between the sound of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms. If the carbon monoxide detector alarm goes off be sure it is your carbon monoxide detector and not your smoke sensor.


Will looking at my gas appliances show me I have a CO problem?

If you view stains, soot or colouration on or by gas boilers, fires and water heaters this could suggest that you have a possible problem. Scrutinising gas pilot lights can give early warning of a deficiency of oxygen in the boiler as the colour of the pilot burner may change from blue to yellow. If the flame alters from blue to yellow or orange this may mean that carbon monoxide is present and you should have the appliance inspected by a professional.


What are the risks with carbon monoxide poisoning?

Act rapidly and be very cautious if there are any indications of carbon monoxide inhalation in your family. It is easy to read about CO symptoms and convince yourself that it’s not applicable to your situation, protect your health and look for professional advice. Take action now and ensure you can take action tomorrow. Carbon monoxide poisoning can impact anybody irrespective of age. This also applies to family pets.


What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide gas poisoning?

The symptoms of carbon monoxide gas poisoning can often be mixed up with other influenza like sicknesses and include:

A Gas Safe Register engineer should be brought in to scrutinise your gas appliances if you observe these symptoms in your household. Whilst waiting for the engineer to come you should check that you have opened the windows and everybody has left the house.

 

 

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