Research carried out this year by CORGI HomePlan revealed worrying statistics about the safety of gas appliances in British homes.
As we enter Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week (November 16-22), it places a focus on the unnecessary risks that some householders are taking with the safety of their families.
CORGI HomePlan surveyed 2,000 people about gas safety and their awareness of carbon monoxide. The results were alarming.
Less than half of boilers in the UK (41 per cent) are serviced annually. A shocking seven per cent of UK boilers have never been serviced.
Regular, annual, servicing of all gas appliances – boilers, cookers, fires and heaters – is the best defence against carbon monoxide leaks.
Servicing is only carried out by Gas Safe Registered engineers. The engineer will assess the condition of the appliance, pipework, air vents and flues, looking for deterioration. They will carry out performance tests and take any necessary action. This is the only way to ensure your appliances are operating safely and efficiently.
Carbon monoxide (CO) doesn’t announce its arrival. You cannot see it, smell it, touch it or taste it. It’s indiscriminate and is rightly known as the ‘silent killer’.
CO is produced by the incomplete burning of gas. This happens when a gas appliance has been incorrectly fitted, badly repaired or poorly maintained. It can also occur if flues, chimneys or vents are blocked.
Breathing in even small amounts of the gas results in carbon monoxide poisoning. CORGI HomePlan’s 2015 research revealed that one in 10 adults in the UK believes they have suffered CO poisoning to some extent.
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, it gets into your bloodstream and prevents your red blood cells from carrying oxygen. Without oxygen, your body tissue and cells die.
Levels that do not kill can cause serious harm to health when breathed in over a long period of time. Long term effects of carbon monoxide poisoning include paralysis and brain damage.
GP Dr Helen Webberley comments: “I’m shocked at the number of patients who come into my surgery displaying symptoms, without realising the cause. Clearly, awareness of carbon monoxide poisoning and its prevalence is too low. Brits must be vigilant to tell-tale signs which include dizziness, headaches, breathlessness and loss of consciousness.”
Almost one in two homes in the UK (49 per cent) still do not have a carbon monoxide alarm, according to CORGI HomePlan’s research. High profile tragedies involving carbon monoxide must not be the only wake-up call people get to change their behaviour.
Education through awareness weeks such as this are also vitally important to improving the nation’s CO safety and reinforcing the message that all gas appliances must be regularly serviced to work safely. CORGI HomePlan is committed to making this happen.
To download a white paper of carbon monoxide safety tips, visit www.corgihomeplan.co.uk