27 June 2014
Hopefully you will not have been able to avoid the advertisements about Carbon Monoxide deaths this year - it is still a killer and many people do not realise they are in danger.
The highly poisonous gas has no taste, no smell
"My worst letting experience was my last one - lovely flat with high ceilings and cornicing etc. Also, I had a good relationship with the landlord who asked whether it would be okay to come and look around while they were back from Australia for Christmas. I said this would be fine and would probably be easier for them while I wasn't there anyway.
I was surprised to receive an email after they'd been around asking if there had been an 'incident' in the kitchen/living room due to discolouration of the cornicing. I replied that there hadn't but was keen to have a look at the discolouration they were referring to when I got back to the flat. When I put on the main light (I normally used the low level lighting) I was horrified to see that the top of the room and much of the ceiling was grey rather than 'shadowed' (as I'd previously thought).
It was only after calling the gas company to advise them of the discolouration that they sent out a Transco engineer within the hour who disconnected my gas at the mains and advised me I was lucky to be alive. Turns out that although my landlord had only been trying to be helpful when she told me "if you open the door on the fire it heats up the room a lot quicker" there were strict instructions in the manual that said door should NEVER be opened as it was specially sealed to prevent poisonous gas (namely Carbon Monoxide) leakage!
It after this that the landlord/tenant relationship went downhill as they asked me to pay for the repainting costs!"
Not everyone is as lucky as Lynn to be alive, or as unlucky to have landlords who were clearly unaware of the dangers of their gas fire and had not bothered to read the manual. Awareness on the part of the tenant is paramount, but essential maintenance of gas equipment is required by the landlord - and is the law.
Carbon Monoxide detectors can be fitted which make audible sound when they detect dangerous levels of the gas - the old-style indicator strips can often go unnoticed or fade with age. If anybody suspects CO leakage they must open doors and window immediately and call the Transco 24 hour emergency line on 0800 111 999. Symptoms of poisoning include: Recurring headaches, Nausea, sickness, chest and/or stomach pains and general tiredness.