Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 18 - 24 November 2013

Carbon monoxide, an odourless, tasteless gas can kill quickly and with no warning. UK Government figures state that each year 4,000 people go to A&E, 200 people are hospitalised and there are around 50 deaths in England and Wales as a result of this ‘Silent Killer’. Badly fitted or poorly maintained appliances can produce this highly poisonous gas. Even a small amount of carbon monoxide leaking into your living area can cause can cause serious long-term health problems such as brain damage.

Carbon Monoxide 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. It is essential to have all your gas, coal or wood-burning appliances, including boilers, gas cookers and gas fires, safety checked annually by a Gas Safe  registered contractor (gas), HETAS contractor  (solid fuel) or OFTEC contractor (oil) to help prevent your appliance from producing carbon monoxide. Chimneys should be swept at least once a year – or more often if used heavily.

A carbon monoxide detector is simple to fit and requires only occasional battery testing and no further maintenance. Without a detector you may not immediately realise that there is a leak in your home, the main symptoms to look out for are:

  • Tiredness and drowsiness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pains
  • Nausea

Ultimately carbon monoxide poisoning can cause loss of consciousness.

These symptoms can mimic many common ailments and may easily be confused with flu or simple tiredness.  There are simple steps you can take to protect yourself:

  • Never use a gas, oil, coal or wood-burning  appliances if you think they are  not working properly
  • Never cover an appliance or block the convection air vents
  • Never block or obstruct any fixed ventilation grilles, air bricks or outside flues
  • Have appliances checked for safety every twelve months

The Shropshire Handyperson Service and Mears Shropshire Home Services has a commitment to helping people stay safely in their own homes and works closely throughout the county with Shropshire Council.  If you would like to arrange for a new carbon monoxide alarm to be fitted or for a Gas Safety, HETAS or OFTEC  Check, please call the friendly team at  Mears Shropshire Home Services on 01743 344 632.

Section:

Pete White Pete White

Love Shrewsbury editor and chief developer at The Web Orchard, find out more on petejwhite.com

Read More from Pete White