OFTEC highlights lack of CO awareness

OFTEC threw its weight behind Carbon Monoxide (CO) Awareness Week, which ran in late September.

The trade body is working to highlight this issue as the latest research shows householders are still unaware of the risks of this potentially deadly substance.

David Blevings, OFTEC’s Ireland manager, said: “CO is traditionally associated with gas appliances with research finding there is very limited awareness in Ireland of the risks posed by other fuels. Only 31% of consumers were aware of the potential risk with oil. It’s very important that householders take the necessary precautions across all fuel appliances.”

“CO poisoning currently causes the death of up to six people in Ireland every year. We want to do everything we can to prevent these tragedies. An audible CO alarm is one preventative measure but it can give a false sense of security and our advice is to have your appliances serviced regularly by a qualified technician. Unfortunately householders face a greater risk if they have old or poorly maintained boilers.”

The study also found that just over half of the participants had their fuel burning appliance serviced in the last year, with 57% listing cost as a prohibiting factor. However, maintenance can be economical and actually save money as well as ensuring safety. The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland currently support boiler servicing and claim that a service can save you up to €150 pa.

David Blevings added: “There are clear advantages to using an OFTEC registered technician as they utilise a flue gas analyser to check for carbon monoxide emissions and perform a combustion test that can lead to improvements in energy efficiency and cost savings on energy bills. In addition to safety, the annual servicing of appliances can save money in long run by improving their efficiency, offering potential cost savings on energy bills and extending the life of the product – avoiding costly repairs and replacements.”