Carbon Monoxide danger
Source: Vedard Security alarm technology
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas. It 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.
What is Carbon Monoxide danger?
Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless and tasteless, which makes it difficult to detect. However its effects are deadly. On average, 50 people a year are killed by carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty heating appliances.
What are the main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Most cases of carbon monoxide poisoning are due to inadequate ventilation or poor maintenance of appliances, blocked or leaky flues and chimneys. Chimneys can become blocked for various reasons. It could be as a result of birds nesting on the chimney, or possible degradation of the flue. A blocked flue can lead to carbon monoxide leaking into your home.
Who is most at risk ?
Some people mistakenly think that it is only gas fueled heating systems which can cause carbon monoxide poisoning – in fact, it can happen with any fossil fuel system if the system, which included both the appliance and the flue, is faulty or the room is not properly ventilated. Also, some people associate carbon monoxide poisoning with rented accommodation – in fact, more people are killed in owner occupied rather than rented properties.
Carbon monoxide poisoning
A typical scenario is a living room with a solid fuel heater. The windows and doors have been draft proofed and the permanent ventilation has been blocked up (by the victim) to prevent draft. The chimney and flue have not been swept for years. The victim may not have carried out the regular maintenance of their appliance, like cleaning the throat plate monthly, let alone had the appliance serviced professionally. There may be soot deposits at the appliance outlet, or bits of the flue lining may have broken away and tumbled down to the appliance outlet. The weather is cold and the fire is not drawing well, so the victim opens the fire door to get more heat. This compounds the problem. The victim becomes drowsy, falls asleep, and doesn’t wake up again.
The danger signs
Carbon monoxide may be present if there are any of the following danger signs:
Gas flames that normally burn blue burn orange or yellow instead.
Sooty stains appear on or just above appliances, regardless of the fuel being burnt.
Coal or wood fires burn slowly or go out.
The fire is difficult to light.
The room is not properly ventilated.
The chimney or flue is blocked – watch out for smoke in the room.
You develop the following unexplained symptoms: