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Carbon Monoxide monitors can save lives

Updated: Sep 17, 2023

A Carbon Monoxide monitor can save your family's lives!

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO) and why do we worry about it?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous/toxic gas that is colourless, odourless, tasteless, non-irritating and it robs our bodies of Oxygen. It is a product of the combustion of organic matter in the presence of insufficient oxygen supply.


It detects dangerous Carbon Monoxide (CO) levels and makes a sound like a smoke alarm. However, because an alarm only activates once there is CO present, you should never rely on them as your sole form of prevention. We prefer the ones with a sealed 10-year battery.


Where does CO gas come from and how does it get into homes?

CO is generated by anything that burns gas or fuel. So in enclosed spaces watch out for candles, cigarettes, house fires, oil heaters, car exhaust fumes, faulty boilers, dirty faulty gas cookers, gas water heaters, wood-burning stoves, and various propane fuelled equipment. Blocked flues on boilers when it's freezing outside also cause CO to be pushed back inside.


Here are some horror stories of real CO poisoning events:

  • A leaky exhaust on a car causes a driver to feel dizzy.

  • Faulty boiler leaks on holiday: adults pass out and the kids die.

  • 22 people have to be taken to hospital after church service due to fault boilers.

  • Smoking large amounts of and in an enclosed space cause people to faint.



What are the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning?

If you have headaches, light-headedness, or are not feeling well while inside.

But feel better as soon as you get outside then it might be caused by Carbon monoxide (CO)!

Symptoms of mild poisoning including headaches, vertigo, flu-like symptoms whereas large exposures can lead to significant toxicity of the central nervous system, dementia, acute gastroenteritis psychosis heart disease, and death.


How to check if there's CO in your home.

Have a decent carbon monoxide monitor with an alarm that goes off if the levels of CO get high. Deaf people should have one with a strobe light. Check that it works weekly or at least once a month by pressing the test button.

We like this Fireangel 10 year sealed Carbon Monoxide alarm with a 10-year battery and life span so that means you don’t have to change the battery ever. They are not cheap but while spending money on one you might as well get a decent one. and nobody can borrow the battery as it's sealed.


What to do if the CO alarm goes off.

If it beeps occasionally then the battery needs replacing or the whole detector needs to be replaced.

If the alarm goes off, then get OUT INTO FRESH AIR and open doors and window to ventilate. Get all living beings outside even if it means waking the baby up or making the cat cross. Switch off all fuel-burning appliances and do not use them until a gas engineer has declared them safe to use.



How to avoid Carbon monoxide poisoning

Have CO monitor in the right position and regularly check if its works.

Have your gas appliances like boiler and gas cooker checked annually.

Make sure the outlet (flue) of the gas boilers does not get blocked by creepers or ice.

Keep the hob burners clean.

Keep your eyes open for any burners/flames that shine more yellow than they should as this could be a sign of incomplete combustion.

Ventilate!

Don’t run your car in a closed garage space. Make sure the exhaust fumes don’t come inside the car when you drive.

Don’t burn loads of candles or smoke in a closed room


Where must the CO monitor be installed?

The experts say to have one in every room where fuel-burning appliances are situated. But not too close to the ceiling or boiler or window or door. That doesn’t leave much space, so we usually put it on an inside wall or above the internal door.


Hope this helps to Stay safe

Further reading the Gas Safe Register has a comprehensive article about the technical stuff about carbon monoxide.


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