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How to check for carbon monoxide leaks

We see lots of articles informing people of how to prevent carbon monoxide leaks but very few informing us what signs to look for that may identify a leak.

In this blog we hope to tell you some useful information on how to check for carbon monoxide leaks and how to prevent them.

Possible clues of a carbon monoxide leak include:
  1. black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires.
  2. sooty or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers, stoves or fires.
  3. smoke building up in rooms due to a faulty flue.
  4. yellow instead of blue flames coming from gas appliances.
  5. pilot lights frequently blowing out.

Tools and Materials Required

•    Common Carbon Monoxide alarm
•    A switch
•    Drill/Nail gun/Adhesive

Step 1 – Purchasing the Right Device

You can purchase a common carbon monoxide alarm from any electrical, departmental or hardware store. The strength and functioning will depend on where you plan on installing it.

Step 2 – Installing the Device

Common mono oxide alarms are easy to install; some are battery operated and others require an electrical output (plug). Attach the device at a height as carbon monoxide is light and tends to float up wards. For this you might need to use a drill or a nail gun or an adhesive to hold it in place. If you are using an electricity powered device you will need a plug which is at a height.

Step 3 – Learning to Read the Levels

It is important to read the instruction manual that comes with the device and learning to read the levels. As yet no standard rates of carbon monoxide within closed doors have been agreed upon but if it is anything more than 9 ppm (40,000 micrograms per meter cubed) for a duration of eight hours there is a health hazard. When the levels increase it is important to increase ventilation.

Step 4 – In case of Carbon Monoxide Exposure

In case of carbon monoxide exposure a blood carbon monoxide reading needs to be taken. For this you can contact your physician. There are also devices, which can be kept handy at home for this purpose. These are small and portable blood carbon monoxide measurement devices. If the symptoms persist immediately get medical care.

Step 5 – Safety Precautions and Maintenance

There is usually minimal maintenance of a household carbon monoxide alarm, but if it is the battery-operated kind it will require frequent battery replacing. It is always better to maintain safety precautions in areas where there are gas or paraffin heaters, charcoal burning or gas stoves by ensuring proper ventilation. Gas leaks in kitchens are a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning therefore it is important to make sure there are no gas pipe leakages.

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