Archive for November, 2012

Gas Safety – Carbon monoxide

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Gas Safety – Carbon monoxide the silent killer

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious concern and the most common causes are ill fitted gas appliances or flues.

Some of the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are stomach and chest pains, tiredness, vomiting and, in prolonged cases of exposure, death.

Carbon monoxide is colourless, tasteless and has no scent which will make the poisonous gas almost impossible to detect.

A study by the University of London for the HSE (Health and Safety Executive) showed that ill fitting gas appliances were fitted in 25% of homes with 8% of these classified as having a higher than average risk of dangerous carbon monoxide levels. More alarming was that 50% of residents surveyed were not aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide.

All gas appliance installations, maintenance, safety checks or repairs should only be performed by gas safe engineers who have the skills and experience to carry out the job. Chimney flues should be swept yearly by a qualified chimney sweep.

For gas to burn safely gas appliances must be in well ventilated areas and any vents should be unobstructed. The most common cause of carbon monoxide cases in homes is due to inadequate ventilation. But more than half of all carbon monoxide poisonings have been the result of people not taking action or not taking the right action. Being aware of the basic safety rules for gas appliances is vital to keep people safe in your home, and knowing what to do if you suspect carbon monoxide is crucial.

Carbon monoxide symptoms can be confused with other illnesses and because the gas leaves the body quickly, once exposure is stopped, blood or breath tests to check for its presence may be unsuccessful up to four hours after.

It is therefore important that if you notice signs that your appliance is not working correctly to turn it off; if you see soot or stains around the appliance, or have an orange yellow flame or a pilot light that refuses to light then your appliance isn’t working properly.

If you suspect an appliance is not working correctly then quickly turn it off. Open doors and windows to let as much fresh air in as possible and then turn off the gas supply if you know how.

For expert advice call the HSE Gas Safety Advice Line: 0800 300 363, or the National Grid on the Gas Emergency: 0800 111 999.

Saving Energy this winter

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Saving Energy this winter

Heating your home typically accounts for around 60% of your total energy bill.

With winter and energy price hikes hitting us at the same time these costs are set to rise and nine out of 10 homes are considering limiting their fuel usage to counteract the costs.

There are a number of things that can be done to reduce the energy you use for heating your home. They’re not complicated and they won’t cost you a penny.

Top 5 ways to save energy

  • Draw curtains when it gets dark to prevent heat escaping and draughts around windows.
  • Consider putting on an extra layer of clothing before turning up the heating.
  • Don’t open windows if it gets too hot, adjust the thermostat to a lower heat instead.
  • Set the heating on timer to switch off just before you go to bed and on again just before you wake up in the morning to save energy usage overnight.
  • If your home has wooden floor boards, fill these with sealant to prevent draughts.

With some simple efficient measures you can reduce your energy usage while still maintaining the same comfortable standards of living that you enjoy. Just reducing your room temperature by 1 degree can cut your heating bill by 10%.

And you can save energy in every room in the house.

  • In the living room just unplugging or switching off items at the wall instead of keeping on standby could save £40 per year.
  • In the kitchen only fill the kettle with enough water to make the amount of hot drinks you need.
  • In the bedroom don’t leave your mobile phone on charge all night as once complete it will continue to use energy.
  • In the bathroom a hot shower uses just 20% of the energy of a hot bath.

These simple measures will not only reduce your energy bills but also reduce your carbon footprint.