Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

There have been a number of quite horrifying news stories in recent years about deaths related to carbon monoxide poisoning. Each year more than 200 people are hospitalised with suspected carbon monoxide poisoning and around 40 people die.

Carbon monoxide leaks are commonly found in 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 levels in an enclosed space. When we had our chimney opened up so we could have a real fire, we had an extra air vent fitted for this very reason.

Carbon monoxide

The problem with carbon monoxide is that it’s a colourless, odourless gas. You can’t taste it, see it or smell it, which is why it’s known as the silent killer and why it kills so many people each year. It’s something I’m frankly terrified of, so I make sure our boiler and appliances are checked out annually by a Gas Safe registered engineer and that our chimney is swept regularly too.

It’s also a really good idea to get a carbon monoxide detector which work in a similar way to smoke detectors, these are relatively inexpensive and could save your life. They’re also really useful to have if you go camping or boating, as a number of deaths occur each year in caravans and boats due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

If you suspect you have a carbon monoxide leak (or any gas leak) then turn off all of your appliances including the boiler, make sure your house is well ventilated by opening doors and windows, if you can access your gas isolation valve, turn it a quarter turn so the lever is at 90 degrees to the upright gas pipe, then ring the National Gas Emergency Service on 0800 11 999.

Corgi Homeplan are currently campaigning for every home to have their own CO detector and they’ve launched a new website to help people be aware of the dangers of gas appliances in their own home. The website has lots of easy to follow advice as well as information about the warning signs to look out for. The Corgi Homeplan website is a great resource for homeowners unsure about how to protect themselves and what to do when things go wrong at home.

In association with Corgi Homeplan.

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