November 2013 is Northern Ireland’s first Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas that has no smell, colour or taste. CO can be released by any appliance that burns oil, solid fuel, wood or gas, including boilers, if they are not properly installed and maintained. When you inhale Carbon Monoxide it starves your body of oxygen. The symptoms can feel like other every day illnesses, such as:
- loss of consciousness
Other danger signs include:
- sooting or staining on or around the appliance
- excessive condensation in the room where the appliance is installed
- lazy yellow/orange coloured gas flames on cookers or boilers, rather than a sharp blue one
How can I prevent it ?
All boilers and fuel-burning appliances MUST be serviced annually using a qualified engineer registered with an appropriate organisation, such as:
Gas Safe Register (gas)
- website: www.gassaferegister.co.uk
- phone: 0800 408 5500
- website: www.oftec.org
- phone: 0845 658 5080
Northern Ireland Association of Chimney Sweeps (all fuels)
- website: www.niacs.co.uk
Northern Ireland Coal Advisory Service (solid fuel)
- website: www.coaladvisoryservice.com
- phone: 0845 712 5300
As a secondary precaution, you can install an audible Carbon Monoxide alarm.
CO alarms should comply with BS EN 50291 and carry a British/European approval mark (follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and maintenance guidance). While carbon monoxide alarms can help alert you to the dangers they must NEVER be regarded as a substitute for the proper installation, maintenance, servicing and cleaning of appliances that burn oil, solid fuel, wood or gas.
For more information on carbon monoxide awareness please visit;