Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon monoxide can be produced by ANY combustion appliance, including your household boiler, oven hob and gas fire. Here at RCB Plumbing, we think this fact is reason enough for you to service your gas appliances NO LESS frequently than once a year, particularly when you consider that you can’t see, taste or smell ‘CO,’ but it can kill quickly and without warning.

CO – The Silent Killer

In fact, government figures show that every year around 15 people die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning, caused by gas appliances and flues that have not been properly installed, maintained or that are poorly ventilated. For victims who are not killed by it, this colourless toxic gas can inflict paralysis and brain damage where the person breathed it in over a long period.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

All are easily confused with food poisoning, viral infections flu or fatigue. They include:

  • Headaches or dizziness
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Tiredness
  • Pains in the chest or stomach
  • Erratic behaviour
  • Visual problems

Although client’s overall awareness of the dangers of Carbon Monoxide poisoning seems to have improved, the best way to stay safe is with the help of a good quality and audible Carbon Monoxide alarm.

CO Alarm/detection –Dos and Donts

  • DO choose an audible alarm over a colour-changing alarm, recommends the Gas Safety Register, on the basis it is vital that you are alerted immediately to CO’s presence, or only a few seconds later in the event you were asleep

  • DO check the alarm shows both ‘British Standard EN 50291’ and a British or European approval mark, like the Kitemark.

  • DO remember that the risk of CO poisoning will increase when there is inadequate ventilation as a result of accumulation in chimneys or vents and flues

  • DO make other people around the gas appliance aware that a simple malfunction with it (the boiler, a fire or heater) could produce CO, and ensure your appliances are serviced every year by a Gas Safe Accredited engineer. An alarm is no substitute for annual servicing

  • DO purchase a portable audible carbon CO alarm to keep you and your family safe on holiday or abroad

CO Alarm/detection – Dos and Donts Continued

  • DON’T confuse a smoke alarm with a CO alarm or expect to detect CO; it won’t

  • DON’T forget to install a CO alarm in each room in your home that has a gas appliance and ensure any purpose-built ventilation areas are not blocked

  • DON’T hesitate about switch offing a gas appliance and shutting off the gas supply at the meter control valve when you think the appliance is spilling CO. Open all doors and windows, then leave the property to consult your GP

  • DON’T settle for anyone less than Gas Safe Registered engineer if you are unsure about a gas appliance’s operation or instalment. GSR also offers advice about CO alarms

  • DON’T ignore the incomplete burning of ANY carbon-based fuel appliance, including oil, wood and coal, as well as gas.

Further Health & Safety Advice from RCB Plumbing

The Health & Safety Executive has mapped out the signs to look out for which indicate incomplete combustion is occurring, and may result in the production of CO;

  • Yellow or orange rather than blue flames (except fuel effect fires or flueless appliances which display this colour flame)
  • Soot or yellow/brown staining around or on appliances
  • Pilot lights that frequently blow out
  • Increased condensation inside windows

How RCB Plumbing can help…

To all RCB customers, and whether they are inside or outside our primary areas of Surrey and South London, we provide a full 12-month guarantee on all our gas Central Heating work. Call us today for a free no-obligation quotation on a wide range of gas fire, oven maintenance and boiler services, FREE of charge on 0208 2617499.