Ahead of this year’s Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is reminding families of best practice when it comes to ensuring gas appliances are safe and so I wanted to share my story of carbon monoxide poisoning with you.
When Littlest was two weeks old, our boiler broke. That was enough to provoke a fair amount of anxiety all by itself. The last thing you want when you are in the post-birth haze, with a tiny baby and a two-year-old, is no hot water and no heating when it is freezing outside. We did not have any boiler maintenance and had not looked once at it since we moved in 18 months before – it had always just worked. Why would we? Gas safety was the last thing on my mind with two babies in the space of two years.
We had to call an emergency engineer and figure out how to open the loft. The first thing the engineer said to me after looking at the boiler for ten minutes was “Do you have a carbon monoxide alarm?” Rather sheepishly, I replied no, we didn’t. His answer filled me with dread.
“Buy one. Now.”
It turns out that our boiler had been in a bad way for some time. It had been leaking into the ceiling and due to a high wardrobe with things piled on top, we had not seen the water damage. When I removed the packages on top, there was a huge brown stain where the boiler had been leaking for months, if not years.
The engineer was amazed that the boiler had worked up until that point. He said that it had likely been leaking carbon monoxide (CO) for some time. The only reason we had not felt its affects was because it was in the loft.
I was struggling with a new-born with severe colic and a toddler just about to be diagnosed with autism. I was surviving on very little sleep and had been breastfeeding and pumping every other hour, day and night. Mentally and physically exhausted, I was faced with the realisation that I might have been poisoning my babies, due to my own negligence – it was too much.
I broke down.
After a kind word from the engineer and a hot cup of tea, eventually, I regained my composure. I immediately ordered two CO alarms and started requesting quotes for a new boiler. The old one had been patched up to give us hot water but the engineer warned that it would need replacing “as soon as physically possible” and I was not going to take any chances again.
Shortly after, we had a brand new, fully-functioning boiler with a ten-year guarantee.
Needless to say, it has regular maintenance and gas safety checks.
In celebration of Gas Safety Week, which this year is focusing on family safety, you could win an amazing day out with Gas Safe Register. Simply scroll to the Rafflecopter below to learn how to enter.
Gas Safety Week
Did you know that nearly half (46%) of the nation’s homes currently don’t have a CO alarm? This could leave more than 12 million households across the UK at risk from CO poisoning.
When it comes to staying safe at home, three-quarters of people agree that they worry about safety, and spend time ensuring that their home is as safe as it can be. However, British families are more likely to fit a smoke alarm (83%), double glazing (76%) or window locks (70%) than have a CO alarm (54%). CO poisoning is known as the ‘silent killer’ as you cannot see, taste or smell it. A CO alarm can alert you to the presence of CO. As CO is odourless and colourless, this is essential.
Ensuring Your Family Stays Gas Safe
During Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register are keen to make sure that you know these three tips to ensure that your gas appliances are safe:
- Check appliances annually – an annual gas safety check reminder service can be found via www.StayGasSafe.co.uk. Currently only 54% of people get annual gas checks.
- Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – although carbon monoxide (CO) has no smell, taste or colour, symptoms of poisoning include: headaches; dizziness; nausea; breathlessness; collapse and loss of consciousness – all of which can be mistaken for something else.
- Only employ a qualified Gas Safe registered engineer – you can find a local registered engineer to carry out gas work in your home by calling Gas Safe Register on 0800 408 5500 or by visiting www.GasSafeRegister.co.uk.
Gas Safety Week 2017 is taking place from 18 September. You can register your support for the Thunderclap here or search #GSW17 on social media.
This Gas Safety Week, Gas Safe Register is looking to create a video to raise awareness about CO poisoning and the best ways to look after gas appliances. If your child would like to take part by acting out the symptoms of CO poisoning, or talking about gas safety in general, please email a short landscape video to firstname.lastname@example.org by Wednesday 13th September.
Competition – Win a Family Day out with Gas Safe Register
Keeping our loved-ones safe is highest on everyone’s list of priorities. However, spending quality time with them probably comes a close second. You could be in with a chance to win £100 voucher to spend on a family day out. Simply enter via the Rafflecopter below. Please note, terms and conditions apply. You can read them here.
Please note, this post is in collaboration with Gas Safe Register.