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17th January 2012

Carbon monoxide detectors are 'essential'

All households should be fitted with a carbon monoxide alarm located close to the boiler, according to experts at 1st Action.

Richard Clarke, chairman at the plumbing and heating firm, also said that homeowners can minimise the danger of carbon monoxide poisoning by ensuring that their appliances are checked regularly.

He added that the flue was the most important factor to monitor, so that if there are any poisonous gases, they can get away safely.

"Every boiler has to have a flue to get rid of the poisonous gases.

"If the flue is low level in a garden, then it can be blocked by some plants or trees that are stopping the gases getting away," he said.

This is particularly true during the winter months, which are more dangerous for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Mr Clarke said: "During the summer time, most boilers are probably working at something like 20 or 30 per cent capacity, but when the weather starts to change, the demand on them is almost constant.

"If the flue is not right and there is carbon hidden in the flue because it has not been cleaned and serviced, then all of these things lead to the chance of there being carbon monoxide problems."

Carbon monoxide is a toxic gas and a byproduct of the incomplete combustion of organic matter, often produced in domestic or industrial situations.

Because it is colourless, odourless and tasteless, it is extremely difficult to detect, which makes it even more dangerous.

It is sometimes referred to as a 'silent killer'.

However, Mr Clarke added that as long as a boiler is serviced regularly and installed properly it can be a "wonderfully safe way" of creating heat and energy within the family home.

Earlier this year, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents and Gas Safe Charity announced a new carbon monoxide awareness campaign designed to educate consumers about the steps that can be taken to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Posted by Penelope Fitzgerald

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