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Carbon Monoxide - The Silent Killer

Posted in   Aug 31 , 2023

Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless and flavourless gas. You cannot see it, smell it or taste it. Therefore, carbon monoxide alarms are essential in order to ensure that you are alerted to its presence in the air as early as possible.

A recent study revealed that 36% of households in the UK do not have a carbon monoxide detector.  While 52% of those without one are aware of what they are, they do not think that they need one. 

Carbon monoxide poisoning can make people seriously ill and can be fatal. It is important that everyone is aware of the warning signs and symptoms of a carbon monoxide leak. 

Carbon monoxide is formed during the burning of fossil fuels when combustion reactions are not completed and so the fuel fails to burn correctly. This can happen due to a lack of oxygen. 

Carbon monoxide gas is not poisonous. It prevents the uptake of oxygen in your body by attaching itself to your red blood cells. If you are exposed for long enough it can be fatal as it interferes with the delivery of oxygen in your entire body, which leads to you falling into a coma before death.  

Symptoms are often mistaken for the flu. They include 

  • headaches 
  • chest pain 
  • diarrhoea 
  • vomiting 
  • confusion 
  • dizziness 
  • blurred vision  
  • chest pains.

Not everyone will experience all of these. It is possible for people who are asleep or drunk to pass away from carbon monoxide poisoning without experiencing any symptoms. 

Infants, the elderly, people with heart conditions and anyone with breathing problems are more at risk. According to the NHS sixty people die from carbon monoxide exposure every year. 

Warning signs of a carbon monoxide leak are 

  • Faulty pilot lights on gas appliances that burn orange or yellow (they should be blue)
  • Pilot lights that appear floppy or regularly go out.  
  • Yellow-brown or sooty stains around an appliance
  • Excessive condensation in a room where there is a fossil fuel burning appliance. 
  • Seeing or smelling smoke (while carbon monoxide is odourless and colourless smoke may sometimes accompany a leak and is certainly always worth being investigated)
  • Excessive soot.

In order to ensure that your family and your property are safe you should make sure that you do the following:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in every room that contains a fossil fuel burning appliance.  
  • Have all gas appliances regularly serviced by a qualified gas safe engineer. (Gas Safe Register - The Official List of Gas Safe Registered Businesses) The Gas Safe Register has replaced CORGI registration. Don't cut corners, only use a Gas Safe registered engineer.
  • Make sure that chimneys are regularly swept and flues are regularly cleaned and checked for blockages as good ventilation is essential. 
  • Avoid using tradespeople who cut corners when having working fireplaces swept or serviced or when having boilers and flues installed or serviced. 
  • Check carbon monoxide alarms regularly and repair or replace them as soon as you discover that they are faulty. 

we know that the safety and happiness of your family is your most important priority so if you are considering selling your property in Lanarkshire and would like a free no obligation valuation please do give us a call on 01698 441327.

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