Research by the AA’s Home Emergency Response has revealed that homeowners are unprotected from carbon monoxide leaks despite the warnings issued to them.
Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no smell, taste or colour, which is why it is hard to detect. The only way it can be detected is by a carbon monoxide alarm. The gas is produced when fuels such as gas, oil, charcoal, coal and wood do not burn fully. Appliances such as boilers and cookers that have been incorrectly fitted are the main ways the gas can escape; another cause can be blocked chimneys or vents.
The research found that alarmingly 66% of homeowners remain unprotected from carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes. 27% of people asked also said they didn’t know the main symptoms of poisoning, which can be mistaken for the flu, highlighting that many would not detect they were suffering from a leak.
However 34% of British adults do have a carbon monoxide monitor installed that they have checked in the last 12 months. 14% also said that dark staining around or on appliances know it could indicate carbon monoxide is present and 17% were aware that an orange flame on a cooker means it is not burning correctly.
As the winter months start to creep in homeowners are being warned about the precautions that need to be taken to ensure carbon monoxide is detected if there is a leak. Monitors can be purchased from hardware shops which can easily detect if there is a leak and can save lives.
Tom Stringer, head of the AA's Home Emergency Response Service commented: “The biggest issue with carbon monoxide is that you can't smell it, see it or taste it which is why it's often referred to as the “silent killer”. If you can smell gas, it's more likely you have a gas leak but if you suspect a gas or carbon monoxide leak, you should call the national gas emergency line on 0800 111 999.”
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By Amanda Bainbridge