The safety of their customers is priority number one for installers. The vast majority of the boilers powering our homes in the UK are working safely, but things can go wrong.
Carbon monoxide is a big danger for the public. It’s an odourless, colourless gas that’s given off by the incomplete burning of any carbon-based fuel, like gas, oil, coal and biomass.
When too much CO is breathed in, it can be fatal. Tragically around 40 people a year die from accidental CO poisoning in the UK, with a further 4,000 people admitted to hospital.
Symptoms like dizziness, nausea and headaches can easily be confused with the flu, but CO poisoning could lead to brain damage and strokes, according to the Health and Safety Executive.
Installers who help protect their customers from these dangers will enhance their professional reputation and help save lives, so it definitely makes good business sense.
Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced from various sources, like faulty cooking or heating appliances, blocked or cracked flues, and damaged heat exchangers.
All of these problems will be discovered and fixed by installers during check-ups, so it’s important for them to stress to their customers the importance of regular service and maintenance.
Audible CO alarms are a vital second line of defence against poisoning. Smoke alarms are common in the UK, but an estimated 85% of homes don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm, and that’s putting lives at risk.
Installers who help fit a CO alarm for their customers are giving them peace of mind, and protecting them from potential harm.
It’s best to install an alarm in all rooms where there’s a carbon-burning appliance, and in the following locations:
- If mounting the alarm on the ceiling, it should be one to three meters horizontally from the appliance, and at least 300mm from any wall and obstructions (like a light fitting).
- If mounting on a wall, the alarm should be one to three meters horizontally from the appliance, 150mm vertically down from ceiling, and above the height of any doors or windows.
CO alarms should not be fitted:
- In an enclosed space such as a cupboard
- Where it can be obstructed
- Directly above a sink
- Next to a door, window, extractor fan or vent
- Where the temperature may drop below –5ºC or exceed 40ºC
- In the immediate vicinity of a cooking appliance.
Julie McLean is head of marketing at Plumb and Parts Center