Understanding the Importance of Carbon Monoxide Awareness

Understanding the Importance of Carbon Monoxide Awareness

Carbon monoxide. Most people have heard about it, but there many people that don’t realize how dangerous it is. New Zealand homeowners are endangering themselves from a lack of awareness and understanding of the gas. A recent Australian study by gas alarm maker Nest unveiled the following:

  • Three quarters of the homes in Australia don’t have a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • Nearly 50% of Australians are unaware that carbon monoxide gas is both odorless and colourless, meaning it is undetectable by human senses.

And these statistics are no better across the ditch in New Zealand! It is important to increase the knowledge and understanding surrounding carbon monoxide poisoning to keep our households safe. Many households have potential carbon monoxide sources, such as gas heaters, without any gas alarm to notify them if the dangerous gas is leaking into their home and putting loved ones at risk. Therefore the importance of regular servicing of gas appliances and flue gas analysis cannot be overstated.

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

The effects of exposure to carbon monoxide are often initially hard to identify, with symptoms including:

  • Nausea
  • Head aches
  • Dizziness

However, prolonged or exposure to higher gas levels of carbon monoxide can cause:

  • Amnesia
  • Dementia
  • Psychosis

These symptoms will affect half of the people exposed to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide attacks the central nervous system, displaces oxygen in the bloodstream, and causes respiratory issues. Chronic poisoning can cause ongoing ailments such as shortness of breath and persistent headaches.

Real Consequences: Victims of Poor Carbon Monoxide Awareness.

Raising awareness of carbon monoxide should take high priority. There are numerous cases across New Zealand of carbon monoxide poisoning, all which could be prevented with proper servicing and detection protocols being put in case.

Just last year, in September 2018, 5 employees of Media Works were rushed to hospital due to carbon monoxide poising. After the power returned after a power outage, a generator in the basement of the Dunedin office turned on in the middle of the night and proceeded to fill the building with carbon monoxide over night.

Furthermore, in October of 2018 a 12-year-old boy form Alexandra died due to carbon monoxide poising from a leaking gas heated shower at the family bach in Haast. The boy was unconscious when his mother went to check on him - having been overcome by the gas and unable to be resuscitated by emergency services.

And these are just a couple of instances in recent times. It is therefore highly important to increase awareness, and further train plumbers and service technicians in negative air pressure and carbon monoxide management.

The Importance of Quality Gas Spillage Detection and Appliance Servicing

Appliance servicing teams play a vital role in improving carbon monoxide safety – and correct appliance testing methods are the corner stone of this responsibility

To perform a negative air test, technicians must check for airflow.  This can be performed by lighting a match once the gas appliance has been turned off. If the smoke from the match rises to the ceiling in a straight line, it is a sign that ample airflow is in the environment. On the flip side, negative pressure will cause the smoke to be drawn towards the vent source. This means that there is a negative pressure in the environment, and any gas vented from the appliance flue has potential to be drawn there and build up to potentially dangerous levels. Once this has been done, technicians can determine if any additional air pressure is required to equalize the room pressure.

If a negative pressure is discovered, technicians must see if the appliance is broken and the release of carbon monoxide is occurring. A gas spillage instrument will inform experts if there are levels of ambient carbon monoxide stem from the appliance, and at which levels gas build-ups could be dangerous. From this point technicians are able to tell whether the appliance can be repaired, or requires replacement.

What Are the Best Testing Solutions Expert Technicians should use?

Testo New Zealand offers a wide range of carbon monoxide testing solutions. All of these improve safety and awareness surrounding carbon monoxide. Changing the mindsets of technicians in regards to carbon monoxide safety is the first step to raising general awareness in the public, so the equipping them with the best instruments is essential.

Ambient carbon dioxide detectors are a great start for technicians, providing data on gas levels of indoor environments.

However, our range of flue gas analysers, such as the Testo 310 Residential Combustion Analyser Kit and Testo 320 Combustion Analyser kit are even better. They enable technicians to test parameters such as draft and pressure, as well as having 5 sensors to accurately test gas.

For more information on carbon monoxide testing, contact our team at Testo today!