Recently an indoor gas heater in an elderly couple’s Victorian home was found to be leaking carbon monoxide (CO) gas when a technician carried out a maintenance check.
A fuel-burning appliance like a gas or oil heater is a common example where carbon monoxide can leak from.
Carbon monoxide is undetectable by all human senses in that it is silent, colourless, odourless and tasteless.
CO poisons the human body by disrupting the movement of oxygen in the blood stream which can be detrimental to organ health.
In winter, homes have less indoor air circulation as doors and windows are left closed to keep them warm. In these situations, carbon monoxide becomes more potent in harming the human body.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can present like cold- and flu-like symptoms, and in more severe cases headaches, nausea, chest pain and loss of consciousness can ensue.
Energy Safe Victoria recommends that all homes with fuel-burning appliances should have them regularly cleaned and checked by a technician for the presence of Carbon Monoxide every two years.
A reminder that all appliances must be regularly serviced
Carbon monoxide alarms should be tested weekly to ensure they operate correctly, just like smoke alarms, and vacuumed every four to six weeks to remove any dust which can reduce the effectiveness of the sensor. If the alarm has past its expiration date it should be replaced.
Shut off all appliances before leaving the home or while sleeping.
Install where possible fuel-burning appliances outside.
Do not use outdoor appliances indoors such as gas or charcoal barbecues indoors.
Never start a car in a closed environment, for example leaving a garage door closed when starting a vehicle. A carbon monoxide alarm is also useful in the garage.