Known as the silent killer and instilling fear in all us over the winter period, today we are talking about carbon monoxide. Responsible for deaths in Australia, this is a serious issue and not one to be taken lightly.
Carbon monoxide can spill or leak from any type of gas or heating appliance. This is including but not limited to; old and new gas heaters, central heating, wall furnaces, space heaters and even gas log fires.
To avoid this risk, all gas heaters and decorative log fires need to be serviced at least every two years by a qualified gasfitter. A qualified gas fitter checks the installation including testing for carbon monoxide leakage. (Victorian State Government, 2020).
What can I do?
There are number of things you can do to ensure the safety of your home and/or business.
1. Only install new appliances– Purchasing items second hand on Facebook or gumtree is not advised. Too often these units have been removed by homeowners, builders or untrained persons leaving the potential for damage to key areas and risk to your family.
2. Installation- Only have a licensed GAS plumber and fitter install gas heaters or appliances. Yes, there are different licensing regulations from a standard plumber qualification and additional training that is undertaken to have this qualification. So do your homework and ask the question.
3. Servicing- Servicing of your gas appliances should be conducted every two years OR if you notice a change. Standard servicing SHOULD include checking for carbon monoxide and gas leaks, this should come at NO additional charge so don’t be fooled by gimmicky offers advertising as‘additional’ or ‘FREE!’
4. Operation- There should always be ventilation to the rooms in which you are operating gas systems with fresh air flow. Appliances or systems should NEVER be left in operation overnight or for extended periods of time. Portable appliances should never, we repeat NEVER be bought indoors and operated.
5. Additional peace of mind- For additional peace of mind at a small cost you can have a carbon monoxide detector installed into your home to guard against leaks.
Carbon Monoxide detectors
Based around the same principles of a smoke detector, these small units (see pic) are able to be simply installed in your home in one or multiple locations. They have a lithium battery which last many years and some have a secondary back up battery.
The units are designed to alarm once they detect a certain amount of carbon monoxide. There are a number of differing types on the market;
Biomimetic sensor: A gel changes colour when it absorbs carbon monoxide, and this colour change triggers the alarm.
Metal oxide semiconductor: When the silica chips circuitry detects carbon monoxide it lowers the electrical resistance, and this change triggers the alarm.
Electrochemical sensor: Electrodes in a chemical solution sense changes in electrical currents when they come into contact with carbon monoxide, and this change triggers the alarm.
Once the alarm sounds, the carbon monoxide detector must be in a carbon monoxide-free environment to silence the siren (Safewise , n.d.)
For a small outlay, these offer great peace of mind for the protection of you and your family. Give us a call today to have your appliance installed, serviced or a detector installed.
Victorian State Government (2020). Carbon monoxide and gas heater safety. Retrieved from https://www2.health.vic.gov.au/about/news-and-events/healthalerts/carbon-monoxide-gas-heater-safety
 Safewise (2020). What does a carbon monoxide detector do and how does it work? Retrieved 18th June 2020 from https://www.safewise.com/home-security-faq/carbon-monoxide-detector/