Know the dangers
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas and, as such, it is very difficult to detect and can easily be inhaled without you realising. Being exposed to high concentration levels can be fatal or cause several other long-term health problems such as brain damage. According to NHS statistics, every year in the UK, over 200 people go to hospital with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning, and around 40 people die.
The most common cause of a carbon monoxide leak is from incorrectly installed or poorly maintained household appliances – such as cookers, heaters and central heating boilers. A blocked flue or chimney can also cause carbon monoxide levels to rise to lethal concentrations in an enclosed space.
There are several warning signs in your home that could mean you have a carbon monoxide issue. Here are a few things to look out for:
- 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
When to call the experts
Have a functioning carbon monoxide alarm in your home as an early warning detector. If you smell gas you need to act quickly. Immediately stop using all your cooking and heating appliances, gas and electric. Make sure the room is well ventilated by opening all doors and windows. If you have access to your gas isolation valve turn it a quarter turn so the lever is at 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe. You should then ring the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 11 999.
Being aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning could save your life. Here are the main six symptoms to look out for:
- Loss of consciousness
These symptoms are very easy to mistake for flu, food poisoning, viral infections and simply tiredness, but carbon monoxide is potentially far more dangerous. If your symptoms only occur at home and they disappear or get better when you leave home then this may indicate a carbon monoxide leak.
Carbon monoxide is a particularly big worry for families. Many family bloggers have written about the dangers of CO in the home – and the simple steps you can take to stay safe. They include:
If you suspect you or anyone in your house has inhaled carbon monoxide. It is important that you get fresh air immediately; turn off the appliance and leave the house. If you think you are in danger ring the National Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999. You should seek medical attention as soon as possible – visit your GP or go to the hospital as soon as possible – let them know that you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning.
What CORGI HomePlan can do
If you know you have a leak, don’t attempt to fix this yourself –Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to inspect your gas appliances or flues to see if there is a dangerous problem. All the engineers used at CORGI HomePlan are there to ensure you get the highest possible quality service and your home is kept completely safe. They will perform a thorough service on your boiler and gas supply, including several tests and checks to ensure that the appliance is operating safely.