Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

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Carbon Monoxide is sometimes referred to as the “Silent Killer” as it is odourless, colourless and has no taste. This means it is difficult to detect and you wouldn’t even realise if you were breathing it in. If you do breathe it in, it can make you unwell and could even kill. It has unfortunately been highlighted in the press recently due to some fatalities.

In the UK alone, there are more than 50 people killed every year and 200 people seriously injured from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. It enters into your bloodstream and mixes with the red blood cells that carry oxygen around your body. This would mean that the blood is unable to carry oxygen and this lack of oxygen will cause the body’s cells and tissue to die.

Carbon Monoxide leaks are most commonly caused by incorrectly installed, poorly maintained or poorly ventilated appliances such as cookers, heaters and central heating bolers. Blocked flues and chimneys can stop the carbon monoxide escaping to the outside so it will build up to dangerous levels in any home or enclosed space.

It is important to be aware of the risk and to look out for anyone in the household or work place displaying any symptoms, symptoms such as shortness of breath or breathing difficulties, tiredness and confusion, dizziness, nausia and vomitting. They can be displayed as very similar symptoms as those of food poisoning or flu, but unlike flu, sufferers would not have a high temperature.

Possible signs of a carbon monoxide leak could include sooty marks on the walls around boilers, stoves and fires, or on the front of gas fires. There could be a build up of smoke in the rooms and the flame is burning yellow instead of blue from your appliances.The best ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and protect your family is to know the danger signs, identify any of your appliances that could potentially leak carbon monoxide and install a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm that can detect a leak and will let out a high-pitched noise when the levels of the gas are too high. These alarms are readily available for installation at LHPS and for a very reasonable price, will allow you to have peace of mind, knowing that your family, tenants or Employees are safe from this “Silent Killer”. However, alarms are not a safe susbtitute for having your appliances regularly maintained and regularly serviced. Call LHPS today to arrange for the installation of CO alarms or to arrange for your boiler or heating system to be serviced andchecked over by one of our fully qualified Gas Safe engineer.

 

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Flues in Voids

Flues In Voids

As of December this year (2012) ALL flues that are enclosed and boxed in (i.e. non-visible) will, by law, have to have a Carbon Monoxide alarm fitted as well as an Inspection hatch. Due to technological advances, boilers have been able to be placed in a wide variety of positions. No longer have they had to be placed on an outside wall. In flats and apartments where space can sometimes be limited, it has suited the installer, not to use an outside wall or it hasn’t been possible to place it on an outside wall. This has meant that the boiler is sometimes in a place that is not possible for the flue to be inspected to ensure that it is correctly fitted and safe.

Gas engineers are required to be able to see the flue in order to inspect it. In many cases, this will not be possible and therefore, the law will specify that a hatch must be fitted. From 1st January 2013, if the gas engineer is unable to view the entire length of your flue, you will be advised that your installation will be classed as “At Risk” or “Immediately Dangerous”, and you will be asked for your permission to have it turned off. Having your boiler serviced and a carbon monoxide alarm fitted will only be allowed as a short-term fix until an inspection hatch has been installed. There is no other alternative but for a hatch to allow access to the flue.

So if you have an enclosed flue in a void, your boiler may immediately be classed as dangerous and will have to be shut off until a Carbon Monoxide alarm and hatches are fitted. Do not take the risk of not being allowed hot water or heating, have a gas safety test done as soon as possible by a friendly and professional LHPS engineer to establish the integrity and safety of your boiler flue.

For further information, advice or to book an appointment to have an inspection carried out on your system, please call us on 020 8664 9099.

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