Is your home safe from Carbon Monoxide? This is a question I have heard time and time again but I assumed it was only associated with properties that have a gas supply. I was very wrong and to be honest stupid, I feel like I put my family at risk because I didn’t know and I was stupid not to have done my research, I really was totally unaware.
Thankfully I have been made aware of the dangers now, it is not just properties with a gas supply that could be in danger of Carbon monoxide poisoning among the many things that can give off the potentially lethal gas are cookers, heaters, central heating boilers and also a blocked flue or chimney, multi fuel burners and open fires. The main reason why the gas is omitted is because of poor installation, ventilation or maintenance.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas so it can be very difficult to detect and you could be inhaling it without even realising.
There are warning signs in your home that could mean you have a carbon monoxide problem.
The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. If it has a yellow or orange flame you really should get your cooker checked out.
Dark staining around or on your appliances
Sooty marks on the walls around boilers, stoves or the cover of gas fires.
Pilot lights that frequently go out
Increased condensation inside windows.
According to NHS statistics in the UK, over 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and around 40 people die every year.
Some symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include;
Loss of consciousness
As they symptoms are also similar to flu, food poisoning, viral infections or tiredness it can be hard to detect whether you have carbon monoxide poisoning so if you are feeling better and symptoms disappear it may be an indication of a leak.
Now if you are living in social housing then it may be a little safer than not as they do service gas fires and boilers frequently, some new build social housing even fit carbon monoxide detectors to their properties.
If you own your own home though I would suggest having your appliances service regularly and fitting a carbon monoxide detector in your property, it is better to be safe than sorry.
We live in council housing, we have an open fire but the council did not fit a carbon monoxide detector in the property. We have now fitted a detector in the living room and so far we have a reading of 0. If you suspect carbon monoxide is present ventilate the area by opening doors and windows. Let the fire burn itself out. Do not stay in the room any longer than necessary, do not relight it until it has been checked. Get your chimney swept.
A decent chimney sweep will not only sweep your chimney for you they will also check for blockages and restrictions and do a smoke test.
Since I have researched more on carbon monoxide poisoning particularly for those with open fires I feel like I can now protect the family properly, by fitting the detector first of all but also knowing how to maintain the fire and chimney properly.
I would definitely recommend fitting a carbon monoxide detector in your home, they are not very expensive at around £10 plus and it is always better to be safe than sorry and CORGI Homeplan want this too, they are campaigning for every household to have a carbon monoxide detector and have launched a website to make people aware of the dangers and what to do if they have a carbon monoxide issue.