Householders are still unaware of the risks of the potentially deadly carbon monoxide in relation to all fossil fuels, according to statistics published by Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week.

Research published by the public safety initiative, which runs from 23 to 29 September, illustrates a low awareness among consumers of the connection between CO and fossil fuels, including home heating oil.

Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, organised by the Commission for Energy Regulation (CER) and supported by public bodies and energy organisations, found that just over half of the participants had their fuel burning appliance serviced in the last year, with 57% listing cost as a prohibiting factor.

However, maintenance can be economical and actually save money as well as ensuring safety. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland currently supports boiler servicing and claims that a service can save you up to €150 a year.

Supported by OFTEC, which represents the domestic oil heating and cooking industry in Ireland, the week aims to generate greater public engagement on the subject of CO.

The public are being asked to remember three things that can help protect them against this silent killer:

“It's very important that householders take the necessary precautions across all fuel appliances and that's why we fully support Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week,” said David Blevings, Ireland manager of OFTEC.

“Carbon monoxide is traditionally associated with gas appliances, with research finding there is very limited awareness in Ireland of the risks posed by other fuels. Only 31% consumers were aware of the potential risk with oil heating with an even lower awareness for coal at just 27%.

“Carbon monoxide poisoning currently causes the death of up to six people in Ireland every year. We want to do everything we can to prevent these tragedies. An audible Carbon Monoxide Alarm is one preventative measure but it can give a false sense of security and our advice is to have your appliances serviced regularly by a qualified technician. Unfortunately householders face a greater risk if they have old or poorly maintained boilers.”

Blevings recommended using an OFTEC registered technician, as they use a flue gas analyser to check for CO emissions and perform a combustion test that can lead to improvements in energy efficiency and cost savings on energy bills. In addition to safety, the annual servicing of appliances can save money in the long run by improving efficiency, offering potential cost savings on energy bills and extending the life of the product – avoiding costly repairs and replacements.

For more information and Carbon Monoxide Awareness advice visit: