Plumber hospitalised with carbon monoxide poisoning after boiler fault

Carbon monoxide is a very serious problem in older inefficient boilers, with many people taken ill every year from monoxide inhalation. Recently a boiler engineer was taken to hospital after being called out to investigate a gas leak.

The faulty boiler had work carried out on it the previous day, but still the engineer fell victim to the silent killer. Carbon monoxide has no smell or taste and is invisible, so it’s normally too late before you realise it’s in the air.

A fire service investigation discovered that carbon monoxide levels were 16 times the safe limit. And a Health and Safety Executive investigation found a gas valve had been incorrectly adjusted. This allowed the boiler to create unsafe levels of CO poisoning.

Lewis John Rees and Christopher Bates from Greenwell Heating and Plumbing Services had visited the property the day before to carry out boiler repairs, and pleaded guilty to breaching Gas Safety Regulations. They were given a £5,000 fine and ordered to pay costs of £8,000.

To help you stay safe from carbon monoxide poisoning you can install a CO alarm, which warns you when monoxide levels are too high. They work in a similar way to fire alarms and let out a high pitch noise when you’re in danger.

And to further protect you against carbon monoxide poisoning, you could install a new boiler that’s energy efficient and less likely to faults. Boilers have a life expectancy between 15 and 20 years, so ensure that you upgrade at the earliest opportunity.

By doing this, you’ll not only avoid call-out charges for boiler faults, but you’ll be reducing your energy bills too as less heat will be needed to warm your home. Inefficient boilers can work at just 70%, which adds hundreds of pounds to your annual fuel bills.


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