Waxman Heating is showing its support for Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week 2016 by providing its customers with free carbon monoxide (CO) alarms. The campaign, taking place from 21 – 27 November, is coordinated by the charity CO Awareness and is now in its 11th year.

In order to raise the profile of the campaign within the local area, the Elland-based supplier of solid fuel stoves and chimney system accessories is providing a free CO slarm with every full chimney system order placed during CO Awareness Week.

This will help installers ensure their customers are safe from CO poisoning, should a fault occur with a heating appliance in the home. CO is a highly poisonous gas produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels such as gas, wood and oil. Known as 'the silent killer' due to its odourless, tasteless and invisible properties, CO can raise a worrying health risk should it be released into to the air. In fact, over 50% of all CO incidents occur within homes and 20% in businesses.

CO Awareness Week aims to reduce the amount of incidents of carbon monoxide poisoning in the UK, by ensuring people are aware of the causes, risks and effects of the dangerous gas. This will help reduce the 40 deaths and 200 hospitalisations, caused by CO poisoning, that occur in England & Wales each year.

Furthermore, the Department of Health indicates that there are around 4,000 attendances to A&E departments in England each year as a result of CO poisoning. This exposure can often lead to lasting neurological damage.

Combine this with the fact that 48% of homes don't have life-saving CO alarms installed and recent news that many unbranded CO alarms are unsafe and unreliable; it highlights just how imperative it is for homeowners to understand the warning signs.

Signs of CO poisoning can include the following:

  • Prolonged flue-like symptoms, suffered by all household members
  • Orange pilot light flames instead of blue
  • Sooty stains on or near appliances
  • Excessive condensation in the room
  • Slow-burning coal or wood fires.

If one or more of these are identified, homeowners or business owners should leave the premises and have appliances checked by a trained professional. In order to reduce the risk of CO poisoning, the following precautions should be taken:

  • Have gas appliances serviced annually by a gas engineer who is registered with Gas Safe Register
  • Use professionals to service any other fossil-fuel burning appliances such as oil or coal-burning stoves annually
  • Keep rooms well ventilated when using a heating or cooking appliance fuelled by gas, oil or solid fuels such as coal or wood, and use the appliance correctly
  • Have chimneys swept at least once a year
  • Ensure a high-quality and audible CO alarm is installed that meets European Standard EN 50291 and is made by a trusted brand with the BSI Kitemark
  • Ensure that such detectors are maintained and replaced according to packaging instructions.