Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer, and poisoning by this colourless and odourless gas claims one life in Victoria every year.
However, with a few cautionary steps, it is easily avoidable. Service It Australia has the expertise to ensure your home is safe from CO, and to educate you on its warning signs.
About Carbon Monoxide (CO)
When you burn natural gas for heating your residential or commercial premises, you need to make sure that the fuel gets enough oxygen. In the absence of enough oxygen, the fuel will burn to produce carbon monoxide (CO) instead of carbon dioxide (CO2).
Carbon dioxide is a greenhouse gas, but it is not poisonous. On the other hand, carbon monoxide is an extremely poisonous gas. It can kill a person in small amounts. As it has no odour or colour, it cannot be detected easily, and you remain an unsuspecting victim till it is too late. Carbon monoxide kills by substituting oxygen in the haemoglobin in your blood, leading to asphyxiation.
How to check for a CO leak
CO is impossible to detect without special equipment because it has neither odour nor colour. But there are a few tell-tale signs that indicate that your gas ducted heating is not getting enough oxygen, leading to it releasing carbon monoxide:
- The pilot light (lit by gas) often goes out, indicating that your heater isn’t getting enough oxygen. This may also be the reason your heater seems to switch off suddenly.
- The flame in the burner turns a weird colour and/or emits soot. A fully oxidising flame is blue. If it is yellow or green, you have a problem.
- If gas is leaking, it will in turn attract humidity. You will notice the signs as abnormal water condensation on hard surfaces or windows.
- Soot is building up around the furnace and on the ceiling and walls of your heater room. This is again a sign of poor burning.
- There is debris in the flue pipe, or it is damaged. These indicate blockage of air, causing improper burning.
- Someone in the house suddenly shows symptoms of CO-poisoning (see below). This is a red alert.
A gas heater is likely to emit CO if
- It hasn't been serviced in a long time.
- Faulty parts haven’t been repaired or replaced
- Has become very old and inefficient.
We strongly recommend that you have someone from Service It Australia check your home or office’s heating system regularly. Energy Safe Victoria requires all homes in the state to have their Gas Heaters serviced & tested once every 2 years, if not more.
common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:
- A sudden feeling of tiredness and shortness of breath, coming from reduced oxygen supply to tissues. Prolonged exposure can lead to weakness and sleepiness.
- Mild or severe headaches
- Nausea and vomiting
If someone is showing these symptoms, rush them outside the house and let them have fresh air. If the symptoms are severe, call for an ambulance. Meanwhile, open all windows and doors, and call emergency services.
Preventing CO Poisoning
- Make sure the room in which your heater is installed is well-aired.
- Make sure that all chimneys and flues remain free of blockages.
- Check the colour of the flame in gas appliances. If it is yellow or orange, it isn’t getting enough oxygen. Shut it down and call for a carbon monoxide test.
Why Choose Service It Australia?
At Service It Australia, we have equipment that can test carbon monoxide leaks from space heaters, wall furnaces, ducted central heaters, gas water heaters, stove tops & ovens and decorative log fires anywhere in Melbourne. Our service technicians are trained, have years of experience and have the requisite Federal and State licenses.
Our technician on visit will give you a printed report of the CO test, a fully itemised invoice and adequate advisory on the steps you need to take. Any estimate of repairs and replacements will be completely transparent.
State Emergency Service: https://www.ses.vic.gov.au/
The MFB: http://www.mfb.vic.gov.au/