Northern Ireland’s Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month’ is being used to highlight the potential danger of burning fossil fuels.
The potential for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning in homes using solid and multi-fuel stoves is being highlighted by OFTEC, after what it describes as “an increasing number of incidents across the country this year”.
Following a rise in the sale of stoves in recent years, the association said that many people do not realise the connection between CO and fossil fuels.
Research conducted on the back of Carbon Monoxide Awareness Week, which ran from 21-27 September in the Republic of Ireland, found only 50% of consumers are aware of the potential risk with oil heating and just 40% for coal.
While raising awareness of the issues of CO poisoning, OFTEC is advising the public to take sensible precautions.
OFTEC Ireland manager David Blevings said: “While solid fuel stoves have fast become a trendy centrepiece in the homes of many families, people need to be aware of the dangers and ensure they are installed and maintained correctly.
“If a flue is installed incorrectly this can lead to a fire starting in the attic or a CO leak into the property, with potentially deathly consequences.
“Like all fuel-burning appliances, they should only be installed by a competent person and then serviced at least once a year for optimum safety and peace of mind.”
The association has also established a training course, which is available through local training centres, and is establishing a new solid fuel register of qualified installers.
Mr Blevings further emphasised the importance of regular servicing of appliances by a suitable qualified technician, using a flue gas analyser to ensure efficiency levels and check that they are operating safely.