How safe is your boiler?

10 February 2021

Often a faulty or damaged boiler isn’t dangerous but will significantly reduce in terms of performance and efficiency, making bills more expensive and your home harder to heat. However, there are occasions when old, poorly maintained or damaged boilers can release toxic carbon monoxide (CO) gas commonly known as the ‘silent killer’. 

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a clear odourless gas which can be tricky to identify. The gas itself is toxic to humans and animals causing unwanted symptoms and eventually death. According to the NHS, as many as 50 people die each year from Carbon monoxide poisoning.

Carbon monoxide gases can leak from faulty boilers, gas fires, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers, open fires and outside cooking equipment.

Signs your boiler could be dangerous

Signs that your gas appliances could be dangerous include:

• A cooker or boiler which has a flame any colour other than blue. Yellow and orange flames could indicate a problem
• Soot or black marks appearing around the appliance
• Having to frequently relight your boiler pilot light
• An increased amount of condensation found in the room and around the windows
• If you can smell gas or fumes (you are unable to smell Carbon Monoxide gas however)
• A coal or wood fire which struggles to stay alight
• A blocked chimney or flue

If you experience any of the above problems, it is important to contact a Gas Safe registered engineer immediately to have the situation assessed.

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Yearly services – Have all of your gas appliances serviced yearly. This will bring to light any problems and faults with your appliances.

Carbon monoxide alarm – Install a carbon monoxide alarm. Small in size and often under £20, a carbon monoxide alarm can alert you of poisonous carbon monoxide gas and save your life. Don't forget to call us on 01795 47 70 98 to get a quote for fitting a carbon monoxide alarm in your property. 

Gas Safe engineer – No matter how big or small the job may be, it is a legal requirement for anyone who is working with gas appliances to be Gas Safe registered. Please note it is illegal for a Gas Safe registered engineer to work on any private jobs away from their registered place of employment.

Gas Safe register – Launched in 2009 the Gas Safe register is available to help reduce domestic gas safety issues. For more information visit the Gas Safe Register website or contact them directly on 0800 408 5500.

Nominate gas work for inspection – If you have had gas work completed in your property within the last 6 months, you can nominate it for a free gas safety check from Gas Safe to ensure everything is in working order.

Moving house – When moving house, it is vital to have all of your new home's gas and heating appliances tested by a Gas Safe registered engineer. 

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

Knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning could save you or your loved ones lives. Get clued up with some of the potential symptoms – some more subtle than others. You may find that many of the symptoms reduce when leaving your home and increase when you return.

• Dizziness
• Tiredness
• Headaches
• Nausea
• Stomach pain
• Breathlessness
• Visual changes
• Collapsing
• Flue like symptoms

What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning

If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to open your doors and windows immediately and get fresh air. Switch off all of your home gas appliances and turn off your gas at the mains supply. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to contact a doctor or health care professional for further evaluation – be sure to let them know of the suspected carbon monoxide poisoning.

Call the Gas Emergency Helpline on 0800 111 999 if you think there's any danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. For more advice and assistance, get in touch with Swale Heating today to rectify any issues with your boiler or central heating system.

Detecting carbon monoxide early is often the best way of preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. The simplest way of doing this is by installing a carbon monoxide alarm. This is a cost effective way to keep you and your family safe. Don't forget to contact a member of the team on 01795 47 70 98 to get a quote for fitting a carbon monoxide alarm in your property.