Gas fireplace repairs can save lives. While professional gas fitters are primarily called out to fix a malfunction in a gas fireplace, they can eliminate the hidden dangers of carbon monoxide while they do so.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas so it never makes its presence known within a home. This is why it is something of an insidious peril. It invisibly does its damage without anyone being aware of it until they start displaying the symptoms of low-level carbon monoxide poisoning. These symptoms include:
- Ongoing fatigue
- Shortness of Breath
- Blurred vision
High levels of carbon monoxide exposure can lead to collapse and unconsciousness, and can even be fatal.
Carbon monoxide is typically produced when fuel-burning appliances are in a state of malfunction or have been wrongly installed by unqualified gas fitters. It’s often thought that gas appliances, such as gas fireplaces, cookers and heaters, are the sole cause of carbon monoxide in a home but it can also emanate from fuels like wood and charcoal. The risk with all fuels is that they don’t completely burn when the appliance is faulty or incorrectly installed; when this occurs levels of carbon monoxide increase. This is why regular servicing of any fuel-burning heater or cooker is highly recommended by the manufacturers of these appliances.
There can be other causes for high carbon monoxide levels within a home, and some might surprise you. A case in point is the number of modern and airtight homes with ducted ventilation systems, heat transfer or extractor fans. These systems can create negative air pressure in the room where a gas heater is operating, causing combustive products to be pulled down the flue and into the room. This creates a potential carbon monoxide risk, but this is something that can be tested and rectified.
And then, there are plain stupid reasons for excessive levels of carbon monoxide. Such as the use of outdoor gas appliances inside a home, including camping cookers and barbecues. These things are often brought inside when the weather is inclement but they don’t have the safety systems that many modern indoor appliances now feature, such as automatic cut-off that shuts down the gas supply when oxygen levels are low and carbon monoxide levels are high.
So, because carbon monoxide is tasteless, odourless and colourless, how can you detect it’s present in your home in dangerously high quantities? It is possible to buy sensors that act like smoke alarms in detecting the presence of carbon monoxide. And when it comes to gas appliances, there are certain things that you can observe:
- A yellow flame rather than a blue one – this indicates the gas is not being fully combusted and might create carbon monoxide as a result. Of course, flame-effect gas heaters are designed with a yellow-tipped flame to enhance dramatic effect but testing will confirm if the yellow flame is meant to be there, or not.
- Abnormal gas flame patterns e.g. flames that start “leaping” for no apparent reason.
- Sooty deposits in or around a gas appliance
It’s best not to wait for these indicators to appear. Carbon monoxide is a hidden danger that could be lingering within your home without you knowing, so get it checked before it poses a serious but invisible risk.Carbon Monoxide, professional gas fitters