Homeowners should check all of their heating appliances to safeguard against carbon monoxide poisoning before winter arrives.
Carbon monoxide (CO), often known as the ‘silent killer’, is colourless, odourless and very difficult to detect.
It can kill in less than three minutes.
On average, six people in Ireland die every year as a result of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and many more become ill as a result of exposure to the gas.
Ensure your home is safe
You can help to ensure that your home is protected against carbon monoxide poisoning by taking the following precautions:
1. Know where it comes from: CO can be produced by any fuel when burned — coal, turf, oil, gas or even wood.
2. Service appliances: Have fuel burning appliances serviced annually by a registered gas installer, registered oil technician or a qualified service technician for your fuel type.
3. Chimneys, flues and vents: Keep vents and flues clear and make sure that rooms have proper ventilation.
Ensure chimneys are swept annually.
4. Know the danger signs: Staining, sooting or discolouration around appliances or condensation or dampness on walls and windows in the room once the appliance is lit can be some of the warning signs that carbon monoxide is present.
5. Symptoms: Unexplained headaches, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness, particularly when a fuel burning appliance is on could be the result of carbon monoxide.
Other clues include others in the property (including pets) suffering from the same symptoms and symptoms improving when you are away from the property.
6. Alarm: Have at least one audible carbon monoxide alarm installed in your home, and anywhere else you burn fuel, to protect you and your family.
Carbon monoxide alarms are available in most hardware or DIY shops.