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The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide: How to Protect Yourself

Carbon monoxide is an extremely harmful gas, but it's not exactly easy to spot. Visit the Rightio blog to discover how to identify exposure and how to act quickly.

Exposure to carbon monoxide can be fatal if you are unaware of the danger and how to act in an emergency. But you may wonder why carbon monoxide is so dangerous and what steps to take to avoid serious consequences.

Rightio is here to guide you in the unfortunate event of an emergency, as well as provide advice on how to be aware of exposure to the gas.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that has no smell, so it can be difficult to identify. It is extremely dangerous when breathed in because the heart, brain, and other organs are deprived of oxygen as the harmful gas displaces it. Particularly when the exposure to carbon monoxide is low, symptoms are not always obvious. But a tension headache is the most typical symptom, in which you will feel pain on both sides of your head as well as a feeling that something is pressing on it.

How is Carbon Monoxide Produced?

Carbon monoxide is produced when materials that contain carbon, such as oil, coal, and wood, haven't completed burning. In the workplace, one of the most common sources of exposure is within the internal combustion engine - but it can also be produced by forges, blast furnaces, and coke ovens.

Where to Place Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

You should ensure that you place your carbon monoxide detector where it is out of reach of pets and children. This poisonous gas can be found in rising air, so it's best to place it approximately five feet above the floor - but ensure that it is not near a flame-producing appliance.

a carbon monoxide alarm

What to do if Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off

  • The first step to take if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds is to ventilate your home by opening all the doors and windows to clear the poisonous gas.
  • All fuel-burning appliances should be turned off when it is safe to do so, and you must exit the household quickly. Carbon monoxide can seep through walls and floors so if there are other occupants attached to your premises, they must also be notified.
  • You must remain outside until you have called the emergency advice line, and if there are any signs of illness or symptoms, it's essential to seek medical help.
  • An emergency boiler repair could be necessary once the problem has been identified.

Can a Boiler Leak Carbon Monoxide When Switched Off?

Your boiler won't leak carbon monoxide when it's switched off as no fuel will be burning. But turning your boiler off should be avoided, particularly in the colder months, to prevent central heating issues from pipes freezing. Otherwise, you might be looking at a boiler repair.

Carbon monoxide can be produced in a boiler when a lack of oxygen is causing the fuel to only partially burn and can sometimes enter your home if you have a faulty flue. If you suspect that your boiler is leaking, it's worth checking for some signs. You may notice some sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires, as well as yellow/brown stains around your boiler. A faulty flue may cause a smoke build-up within rooms, and yellow flames may appear on your gas appliances rather than blue.

Regular boiler services will reduce the risk of carbon monoxide leaks, so it's essential to have them carried out annually. In fact, research from Which found that four in ten people don't have an annual boiler service, putting them at higher risk of experiencing a leak. A boiler service won't only reduce the harm, it can also check for any issues early to prevent a broken boiler further down the line. Not to mention, you can receive a boiler service certificate too. But it's necessary to be aware of the signs of exposure to carbon monoxide and the actions to take for your safety.


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