It's Carbon Monoxide Awareness week - here's what you need to know

Monday this week marked the start of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which aims to educate people about how to protect themselves from the dangers of Carbon Monoxide in the home.

Maeve McLaughlin
by Maeve McLaughlin on 29th September, 2016

Carbon Monoxide, which is also known as CO, is a poisonous gas which is both colourless and odourless . According to the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, on average between 1 and 2 people die each year in Ireland from unintentional CO poisoning in the home.

Carbon Monoxide poisoning and symptoms

When CO is inhaled into the body it combines with the blood, preventing it from absorbing oxygen. If a person is exposed to CO over a period, it can cause illness and even death.

CO poisoning can manifest itself with symptoms similar to those of a hangover, colds or the flu, such as:

  • unexplained headaches;
  • nausea;
  • dizziness; and
  • breathlessness.

In extreme cases, you could even collapse or lose consciousness.

If you find the symptoms disappear when you leave the house, then it could be that you’re suffering from CO poisoning.

How to prevent Carbon Monoxide poisoning

The most important thing to remember is that all your gas appliances must be serviced and checked on an annual basis. If you own your own property, it is your responsibility to arrange this, while if you live in rented accommodation, it is your landlord’s responsibility.

It’s also crucial that vents, appliances, flues and chimneys are cleaned and maintained annually.

Fitting a carbon monoxide alarm in your home is also extremely important, as they can be used as a backup to provide you with a warning in the event of a dangerous build up. You can purchase these alarms from most DIY stores in Ireland and they can be fitted to your wall or ceiling with ease.

In the event of the alarm going off, you should leave your property and contact an engineer straight away.

General Carbon Monoxide Facts

As part of Carbon Monoxide Awareness week, Gas Networks Ireland, the RSAI, Registered Gas Installers and the Irish LP Gas Association have launched the website, which has the following handy checklist of Carbon Monoxide facts.

We’ll all soon be using our heating much more frequently as we come into the winter months, so if you haven’t yet had your boiler serviced or your chimney cleaned this year, it would definitely be worth taking the time to do so soon.