Carbon Monoxide is a silent danger. Colourless, tasteless and odourless it can make you very ill, or even in extreme cases suffocate you, often while you sleep. Each year in the UK around 200 people go to hospital with Carbon Monoxide poisoning and 40 of those will die.
Most cases of Carbon Monoxide poisoning occur because gas appliances and chimneys have not been properly maintained. As gas or other fuels burn, they use up Oxygen and release Carbon Dioxide. When the Carbon Dioxide gets to a high enough concentration in the room, the fuel doesn't burn efficiently and Carbon Monoxide is released. Good ventiliation is vital to ensure the Carbon Dioxide can escape properly and the fuel can burn properly.
Early signs of Carbon Monoxide poisoning are a headache and feeling woozy or unnaturally sleepy. Later signs are similar to food poisoning, with vomiting and stomach pain, shortness of breath, and eventually collapse.
If you feel you may have been affected by Carbon Monoxide poisoning then you need to get fresh air as quickly as possible. Open windows and doors, switch off any suspect appliances or dowse a fire with water to extinguish it. Go outside. Get medical attention if you still feel in any way unwell. Get your appliance serviced by a Gas Safe Registered Engineer before you use it again, or arrange for a chimney to be swept.
Corgi Homeplan have a list of warning signs you should watch for that can indicate you have a risk of Carbon Monoxide escape in your home:
- The flame on your cooker should be crisp and blue. Yellow or orange flames mean you need to get your cooker checked
- Dark staining around or on 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
One of my readers can help protect their family this Winter as Corgi Homeplan have offered a FireAngel Carbon Monoxide Detector worth £30 as a prize for one of my readers. Entry to the giveaway is via the Gleam form below. The giveaway will end at midnight on Sunday 11th October and open to UK readers only.
For all of my other giveaways please see my giveaways page...
Carbon Monoxide Detector Giveaway
All my own words - and I was not reimbursed for this post. Get your boiler checked!