Carbon Monoxide Safety

Carbon Monoxide is produced during the combustion process when fuels such as gas, wood, oil, coal, smokeless and solid fuels are burned.  It is a highly poisonous gas which has no taste, colour or smell. Carbon Monoxide AKA the silent killer can be fatal there is even the potential for long lasting health damage with low levels of the gas.

How do you prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning from your stove or fire I hear you ask?

It is essential that you get a safety check on any stove or fire annually.  It doesn’t matter what type of fuel you are burning. You must have this check carried out by a competent person that has had full training such as a HETAS engineer.

If you use your stove regularly it is advised to empty the ash pan daily. It is also advised to have your chimney swept annually when burning smokeless fuel or twice yearly when burning wood or solid fuels such as bituminous coal.

The law states that all private landlords not only provide gas safety certificates for gas appliances but it is also law to supply CO alarms for the room containing a boiler. It is law also to have a CO alarm fitted in a room with a stove or open fire.  Although a landlord is not compelled by law to have a safety check on stoves a responsible one will. If in doubt ask.

How do you know you have a problem?

The answer here is simple, fit a Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Much like a smoke alarm Carbon Monoxide Alarms make a very loud noise when CO is detected. All alarms must be fitted correctly, in the correct position, within each room they are needed. 

Carbon Monoxide detectors are never a substitute for regular appliance maintenance and chimney sweeping.

We are able to provide a sweep and service of your stove, we can also provide you with advice on the correct positioning of Carbon Monoxide alarms.

It is no longer recommended to use the black spot detector.  They are often inaccurate and you have to check them. What if you are asleep when the gas occurs? Battery operated Carbon Monoxide alarms are portable so if you are worried whilst travelling within the UK or abroad take one with you.

Do you know the symptoms to Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

They are very similar to flu inc; nausea, dizziness, tiredness, headaches, stomach and chest pains.  If these symptoms improve when outside or away from an appliance you could be suffering from Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Now is the time to stop using your appliance and seek medical advice immediately.

Know how to spot signs of Carbon Monoxide around your appliance.

Look out for danger signs such as shooting or staining around the appliance and excessive condensation in the room.  Carbon Monoxide can also be present in smoke from solid URL, wood or pellet appliances. 

If you are using a gas appliance it should have a crisp blue flame, such as a pilot light, look out for any changes. If it turns to a lazy orange flame the appliance may not be working properly and it is time to seek professional help.

What to do and who to call in an emergency

If you suspect a leak stop using the appliance immediately until you can get a suitably qualified engineer out to check.  Upon seeking medical advice make sure you say you may be suffering from CO poisoning and are given an appropriate blood or breath test.

If you’re not sure of your symptoms visit the NHS website here

Keep in mind:

Blocking ventilation or misusing your appliance can lead to Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

If you have any concerns or would like a Carbon Monoxide alarm fitted call Grate Stoves & Fires on 01304841624.

You can find out more information about Carbon Monoxide and safety for solid fuel and wood appliances on the Solid Fuel Association website to telephone 08456014406

Reference to the Carbon Monoxide Safety leaflet produced by the Solid Fuel Association available from our showroom CT3 Business Park in Aylesham near Canterbury.

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