A recently published report commissioned by the Health and Safety Executive concluded that 23% of a sample of homes had one or more defective gas appliances and that 8%, roughly 1 in 12 of the same sample was at serious risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. 45% of the sample had received no warning information on the dangers of carbon monoxide or how to reduce the risks.
Between twenty and thirty deaths in Britain each year are attributed to CO poisoning in the home, usually as a result of inexpert installation or poor maintenance (or both) of gas appliances. Many more people â€“ nobody knows how many â€“ have had their health affected to a greater or lesser extent by CO inhalation. Not everybody realises that CO cna damage the heart, lungs and brain. Symptoms include fatigue, muscle pains, upset stomach, lethargy. dizziness and headaches.
The problem lies in the vast number of old and ill-maintained aplliances in Britain’s homes and in the lack of understanding of the dangers and of how to reduce the risks. A Health and Safety Executive analysis of gas incidents over the eight years up to 2003-04 shows that 64% of fatalities were attributed to the action or lack of action of an occupier or a relative.
Where the natural draught is not reliable, the best solution can be an Exhausto chimney fan system. An Exhausto chimney fan system maintains a constant and controlled upward chimney draught, which carries most, if not all, of the very low levels of CO that are often present safely out of the house. If an appliance developes a fault and begins to emit dangerous levels of CO, the chimney fan system will extract most, if not all, of the gas.
A key factor applying only to Exhausto chimney fan systems for gas fires is that, as well as ensuring that fumes and combustion products go safely up the chimney, Exhausto chimney fan systems for gas fires actually cut off the gas supply to the fire if the chimney becomes obstructed. As soon as the obstruction is cleared and the fan can draw a proper draught up the chimney, the gas supply is restored and the gas fire can be lit as normal. The Exhausto chimney fan system is the only one available on the market that has a fully certifies fail-safe facility that provides both safety and the opportunity to have an open gas fireplace. Even better, the chimney fan system works equally well installed on a traditional chimney or attached to an outside wall â€“ giving you the freedom to choose the gas fire that best matches your needs.