Wood burning stoves can be a ‘silent killer’, leaking deadly carbon monoxide if not properly fitted
- Around 40 people die in a year across England and Wales from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning
- And 4,000 more need to be treated in accident and emergency for CO poisoning
They are a timeless and effective way to keep your home cosy and warm during the winter.
But badly-fitting wood burning stoves can be lethal, the Health Protection Agency is warning, silently and fatally leaking carbon monoxide into people’s living rooms.
About 40 people die in a year across England and Wales from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning such as that caused by wood burning stoves.
And 4,000 more need to be treated in accident and emergency for CO poisoning.
Now the HPA has launched a winter campaign to raise awareness of the hazard.
Dr John Harrison of the HPA said: ‘Many of these deaths take place between November and February due to faulty fossil fuel and wood burning appliances, and are therefore preventable.
‘To lower the risk, people should ensure that their fossil fuel and wood burning appliances are regularly checked by an appropriately registered engineer ( call Alfred Poppins).
‘The HPA recommends that people have these appliances and their flues checked before the start of winter.
‘Rooms in which appliances are used must also be adequately ventilated.’
Carbon Monoxide is produced when fossil fuels burn without a good supply of air.
It is a colourless, odourless and tasteless gas which is difficult to detect.
And If that happens in a room without adequate ventilation, levels can build up dangerously.
A mild case of CO poisoning can just cause a very bad headache.
But inhaling high levels can quickly starve major organs like the heart, brain and nervous system of oxygen, and if someone is exposed to high levels of CO for too long, they can fall unconscious and die within minutes.
The HPA is recommending that people should fit an audible CO alarm which meets European Standards EN 50291, in their homes.
Dr Harrison said telltale signs of carbon monoxide emissions included ‘black sooty marks’ on the wall around stoves, boilers or fires, or on the clay radiator bars of gas fires, and smoke accumulating in rooms due to faulty flues.
Another sign was yellow flames on gas appliances that were meant to have blue flames.
The HPA advises that if you see any of these signs, turn off the appliance, open your windows and have an appropriately registered engineer service the appliance as soon as possible.
If in any doubt give Alfred Poppins a call!