5 reflexes to fight against carbon monoxide poisoning
Almost three years ago, we shared with you carbon monoxide (CO): risks, legal aspects and gas detection were discussed. Today, even if the figures have decreased (4000 intoxications in 2019 against 3000 in 2022), this subject is still relevant because carbon monoxide (CO) is the first cause of accidental death by intoxication in France. (ARS figures, November 2022.)
In order to avoid carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, several precautions must be taken. Indeed, CO is a toxic gas, odorless and colorless, but extremely deadly.
Find below 5 reflexes to fight against carbon monoxide poisoning:
1. Monitor maintenance
Every year before winter, have your heating and hot water installations, as well as your chimney flues (mechanical sweeping) systematically checked and maintained by a qualified professional. You must also ask for a maintenance certificate from the professional who intervenes, because without this document, your insurance will not pay for anything if there is an accident.
It is a relatively quick intervention, but it will allow you to evolve safely in your home.
2. Install a detector
Install a carbon monoxide detector. Even if it is not compulsory, it can be essential to avoid any incident. Make sure it complies with the European standard EN 50291.
During the annual maintenance of your boiler, the qualified professional who intervenes is required to measure the carbon monoxide level in the air, to ensure that your installation does not emit carbon monoxide. This will not only verify the effectiveness of your detector, if you have one, but also ensure that your home is safe and secure.
Smoke detector or CO detector, what is the difference?
The smoke detector is the most common solution in terms of prevention against domestic fires. Its installation is mandatory in all homes since 2015. The smoke detector must be installed high, preferably on a ceiling. You must choose a detector with a CE marking, in compliance with the EN 14604 standard.
The carbon monoxide detector triggers an audible alert as soon as the concentration of CO in the air exceeds a threshold limit. Carbon monoxide is invisible, odorless and non-irritating, so this type of device is very useful to prevent fire starts and possible leaks that could cause intoxication. It is advisable to install a detector in each room where there is a combustion device (water heater, boiler, etc.), as well as in the bedrooms for greater safety. To ensure the quality of the product, you must choose a device that complies with the EN 50291 standard. This detector is not mandatory.
Air your home every day for at least 10 minutes, even if it is cold. Indeed, before talking about toxic gases such as carbon monoxide, airing allows you to renew the air and eliminate dust and particles.
Know that even if it is cold outside, airing your home for 10 minutes will not cool it.
Airing your home has several advantages:
- Chasing indoor pollution: The air quickly becomes polluted, due to dust and other volatile compounds. Household products and home perfumes or scented candles can release harmful substances.
- Avoiding humidity: It may seem paradoxical, but today's homes are better and better insulated, and humidity tends to settle more quickly than in older homes. Airing the house therefore helps prevent humidity from settling in.
- Get rid of bad smells: Cooking, animals, tobacco, etc., tend to produce sometimes unpleasant odors, requiring a good ventilation of the interior.
4. Do not obstruct
Never block the air inlets and outlets (ventilation grills in the kitchen, bathroom, etc.). Indeed, make sure that the premises are properly ventilated and aired. As said before, ventilation has several advantages, and this is also the case for ventilation. In every new house, ventilation systems are installed in the wet rooms (kitchen, bathroom, etc.) and above the windows or bay windows.
5. Beware of devices
Do not heat with appliances not intended for this purpose (camping stoves, ovens, braziers, barbecues, etc.). When used in an unventilated space and for too long, these appliances can release toxic gases that are dangerous in too great a concentration.
In the case of the use of an oven for example, another problem arises: using your oven as a heater will increase your electricity bill. Indeed, if your radiator heats a specific area, it is not the case of an appliance like the oven. This is why heating with this type of appliance is not only very dangerous, but also energy consuming.