We’re now in the depths of a Melbourne winter and most of us have our heating systems running more often than not, so its imperative you take into account the risks associated with incorrectly installed and maintained appliances as carbon monoxide poisoning poses a very real risk to a person’s life.
Carbon monoxide, CO, is an odourless, colourless and tasteless gas arising from incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. In a domestic setting, sources of CO are gas heaters - with and without flues, gas stoves, wood or charcoal heaters, tobacco smoke, and the infiltration of car exhaust from attached garages.
Emissions in enclosed and unventilated domestic spaces can, and do, cause fatalities and hospitalisations, so it is important you consider a Carbon Monoxide Detector and have a Carbon Monoxide Test carried out on your home gas appliances.
How does carbon monoxide harm?
Many heaters used to heat our homes work by combusting gas. When gas is burned it releases carbon monoxide, as well as other gases, and if these are not flued to the outside of the home or if the heater is faulty or old, or there is insufficient ventilation in the home, these gases can build up inside the home to hazardous levels.
When present in high levels, CO can diffuse rapidly into the blood reducing the capacity of the blood to carry oxygen, which we need to survive.
Very high concentrations of CO can lead to unconsciousness and death, which can occur within several minutes.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
CO poisoning can be mistaken for the flu, and can include symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, malaise, nausea or vomiting, loss of consciousness, shortness of breath and confusions to name a few. Because carbon monoxide is odourless, you may not even be aware that your home has levels that are too high.
Who is at risk?
Everyone, nobody is immune to the silent killer. However some susceptible groups include the elderly, people with health conditions, children, pregnant women and their unborn babies.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Leaks
If you're concerned about the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, then the best course of action is to have a Carbon Monoxide Test carried out by a Licensed gas plumber in Melbourne. If you suspect you may have a gas leak or high levels of Carbon Monoxide in your home, or you’re just concerned because you haven’t had your gas heater serviced for 2 years, then you should do the following:
- Turn off your gas supply at the gas meter
- Open up your home to fresh air
- Call a licensed gas plumber to carry out a Carbon Monoxide Test and test your gas fitting line.
What is a Carbon Monoxide Test?
A qualified gas plumber can conduct a series of tests to check if your heater is safe, using a carbon monoxide testing device that rates carbon monoxide in parts per million in the air. A safe test will have a reading of 0.00 ppm.
If you service your gas appliances every 2 years by a licensed gas plumber, they are far less likely to expel dangerous levels of CO.