Wood burning stoves, just like gas fires, can be a silent killer when they leak deadly carbon monoxide. This is likely to happen if they have not been fitted properly, or not had regular maintenance checks.
Around 40 people a year die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in England and Wales. Around a further 4,000 are treated in accident and emergency for CO poisoning.
Since energy bills have been increasing, wood burning stoves have become ever popular as people look for energy efficient ways to heat their homes.
The Health Protection Agency (HPA) has warned that badly fitted wood burning stoves can be lethal, and last winter the HPA launched a campaign to raise awareness of the hazard of wood burning stoves.
Dr John Harrison of the HPA said "Many of these deaths take place between November and February due to faulty fossil fuel and wood burning appliances, and are therefore preventable.
To lower the risk, people should ensure that their fossil fuel and wood burning appliances are regularly checked by an appropriately registered engineer."
It is best to have your gas or wood burning appliances checked before you start to use them each winter. You should also ensure any room housing a gas or wood burning fire should have adequate ventilation.
Carbon monoxide builds up when fossil fuels burn and have no route out of your home, either from blocked vents or flues. If a room does not have adequate ventilation, levels of carbon monoxide can build to dangerous levels.
Carbon monoxide is a colourless, odourless gas, a mild case of poisoning can cause a bad headache, but high levels can quickly starve major organs of oxygen. It takes only minutes to become unconscious and die.
For your own safety always have a CO alarm near stoves and boilers. Also keep an eye out for black sooty marks on the wall around your stove, boilers and fires, or on the clay radiator bars of gas fires, which are all signs you may have a problem. Yellow flames on gas appliances where the flame is meant to be blue can also be a sign of a problem.
The HPA advises anyone who spots any of the above, should turn off their appliance, open windows, and have an appropriately registered engineer service the appliance as soon as possible.
If you have any concerns please do not hesitate calling Dave on , he will be more than happy to check and clean your stove for you.