Keep­ing your boiler happy and an in­vis­i­ble killer at bay

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY - Grace Ham­mond

CAR­BON Monox­ide (CO) re­mains the most com­mon cause of fa­tal poi­son­ing in Bri­tain, killing 50 peo­ple per year. This colour­less and odour­less silent killer can be re­leased by gas equip­ment that has ei­ther failed or has been dam­aged, pre­vent­ing the fuel from burn­ing prop­erly.

Hav­ing your boiler pro­fes­sion­ally ser­viced just once a year could sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the risk of CO poi­son­ing, along with hav­ing a car­bon monox­ide alarm fit­ted.

De­spite the warn­ings, an npower sur­vey of 2,000 peo­ple dis­cov­ered that two-thirds of home­own­ers are fail­ing to have their gas ap­pli­ances ser­viced; in fact only half of home­own­ers are book­ing their boil­ers in for their an­nual check-up, even though a third of the UK’S boil­ers are over 10 years old. How­ever, it’s not just boil­ers that are a po­ten­tial haz­ard, cook­ers and gas fires are also be­ing ne­glected.

Chris Thewlis, head of op­er­a­tions for npower, which selld CO alarms, says: “Car­bon monox­ide leaks can be dif­fi­cult to spot. Older ap­pli­ances are def­i­nitely more at risk from CO leaks as they are more likely to be in­ef­fi­cient and mal­func­tion, wast­ing money and risk­ing health. It’s par­tic­u­larly wor­ry­ing that peo­ple are not book­ing in their an­nual ser­vices for their ap­pli­ances, es­pe­cially when the risk is so high.

“Mil­lions of UK homes could be at risk of a CO leak. But with the help of a car­bon monox­ide alarm, peo­ple will be alerted to the fact that there is a prob­lem and will be able to act. It’s not just big leaks that can be detri­men­tal to health; smaller leaks, which emit lower lev­els of car­bon monox­ide, can cause se­ri­ous dam­age to your health over time.

“Fol­low­ing a few sim­ple steps such as reg­u­lar ser­vices and a good qual­ity car­bon monox­ide alarm, en­sures that the risks of CO leaks can be greatly re­duced.”

The alarm should be po­si­tioned in the same room as the gas ap­pli­ance or boiler and re­placed af­ter six years.

Home­own­ers can also re­duce the risk of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing by mak­ing sure their home is well ven­ti­lated and by look­ing out for signs of a leak, which can in­clude dis­col­oration around the edges of the gas ap­pli­ance; if there’s a boiler, look out for a yel­low rather than a blue flame and in­creased con­den­sa­tion.

npower ad­vises that home­own­ers fol­low the fol­low­ing steps to help re­duce the risk of car­bon monox­ide in their home:

En­sure that your ap­pli­ances have been pro­fes­sion­ally in­stalled by a gas safe reg­is­tered en­gi­neer.

Make su re your boiler is ser­viced at least once a year by a gas safe reg­is­tered en­gi­neer who can test for dam­age or mal­func­tions. npower of­fers a thor­ough, 30 point gas boiler ser­vice and safety check. Ap­point­ments are avail­able at evenings and week­ends and can be made online.

En­sure your house is well ven­ti­lated as car­bon monox­ide will be pro­duced in greater quan­ti­ties if flues and vents are blocked.

In­vest in a car­bon monox­ide alarm, which can de­tect the early signs of a leak and help you to deal with the prob­lem quickly and ef­fec­tively.

*Look out for signs of a leak. These in­clude dis­colour­ing around the edge of your boiler, yel­low rather than blue flame and in­creased con­den­sa­tion where the boiler is in­stalled.

Early symp­toms of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing are sim­i­lar to a cold or flu and can in­clude: A headache Feel­ing nau­seous and dizzy Feel­ing tired Vom­it­ing Ab­dom­i­nal or chest pain Short­ness of breath Some symp­toms can oc­cur a few days or even months af­ter ex­po­sure. These in­clude mem­ory loss and prob­lems with co­or­di­na­tion. Any­one ex­pe­ri­enc­ing these symp­toms should visit their doc­tor.

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