Invisible threat

With ever-increasing solid fuel stoves and oil and gas boilers being installed each year in Ireland, it is estimated that carbon monoxide poisoning causes the death of up to six people and makes many more ill. As stated by leading Irish manufacturer of Fire and CO detection products Ei Electronics, the threat of poisoning by CO becomes more present during the winter, when homeowners turn to heating systems to keep the cold out.

“It is very important that householders understand the importance of checking their home heating systems annually for leaks, damage, or defects, including oil or gas boilers as well as solid fuel appliances,” said Sean Meally, Irish Country Manager of Ei Electronics. “Solid and multi-fuel stoves can be extremely dangerous.”

Silent killer

Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas which, in high levels, can kill in as little as three minutes. Therefore, householders must take the necessary precautions with solid fuel stoves and all fossil fuel appliances, from installation to regular servicing. 

Carbon Monoxide is a by-product of the combustion process of burning any fossil fuel and because it is colourless, odourless, tasteless and invisible, its presence cannot be detected by the human senses. Hence, it is known as the “silent killer”. 

Household appliances such as boilers, cookers, solid-fuel burners, and open fires all produce some levels of Carbon Monoxide. In general, the gas is exhausted safely into the atmosphere via chimneys and flues. However, malfunctioning appliances, cracked chimneys or blocked flues can result in these flue gases leaking into the living areas of the home, with potentially devastating consequences. Carbon Monoxide is absorbed by red blood cells in preference to oxygen, which results in oxygen starvation and rapid damage to the heart and lungs. Initial symptoms aren’t dissimilar to those of flu or food poisoning and can often be misdiagnosed by doctors. Exposure to higher levels results in unconsciousness and death.

The regulations

Irish building regulations now stipulate that where a new or replacement open-flued or flueless combustion appliance, not designed solely for cooking purposes, is installed in a dwelling, a Carbon Monoxide (CO) alarm should be provided in the room where the appliance is located and either inside each bedroom or, within 5m (16ft.) of any bedroom door, measured along the path of the corridor.

Gas boiler shutoff system 

Ei Electronics manufactures a range of mains and battery-powered CO products which may operate independently or as part of an interconnected system. The automatic boiler shutoff system is an efficient solution provided by Ei. When detecting Carbon Monoxide, the CO alarm in the system triggers a relay device to shut off the boiler. This is a requirement for gas boiler installations when the flue is extended or does not exist immediately outside the building.

For detailed regulation information please see the Ei Electronics website or scan the QR code below.

Ei Electronics Campus, Shannon, Co. Clare, Ireland V14 H020
T: +353 (0)61 471 277