Each year have deplored numerous poisonings with carbon monoxide and chimney fires. These can have dramatic consequences. However, we can avoid them with regular maintenance and some usual precautions. We take stock with the professionals.
In 2019, the Haute-Vienne firefighters responded to 257 chimney fires and 15 carbon monoxide poisonings.
According to Public Health France, the vast majority of carbon monoxide poisoning takes place in homes (86%). About three quarters of accidental household poisonings are linked to a connected installation such as a boiler, stove / radiator or water heater.
Sometimes dramatic accidents that could be avoided.
Maintenance of facilities
The maintenance of your boiler regardless of its operating mode must be done at least once a year.
This is extremely important because an unmaintained device is a source of risk. A risk that can be fatal.
The combustion of gases produces waste in the form of grayish or black dust, which may also be visible as a paste with a condensing boiler. However, this powder or this paste will obstruct the gas evacuations of the installation.
« The air flow must be done correctly or else it may simply be reversed and carbon monoxide can then invade the room. Maintenance consists of cleaning the appliance and the ducts so that the gases can escape. correctly ». Explains Cyril Poyrault responsible for the after-sales service of the Maciejowski company.
It is also essential to ensure that the room ventilation in which the boiler is located is done permanently. « Some people block the ventilation grilles on the walls to prevent drafts, it’s extremely dangerous ». Stresses Cyril Poyrault.
On the other hand, carbon monoxide can also emanate from a cooking appliance. The ventilation of the kitchen must therefore also be optimal. The room must have at least two vents, one less than 30 cm from the ground, the other more than 1m80.
The Maciejowsk company located in Limoges and Guéret manages the maintenance of around 6,000 boilers in Creuse and Haute-Vienne. However, technicians regularly observe a risk of imminent danger. « In this case the technician has an obligation to neutralize the boiler, then a very precise procedure is initiated. This kind of problem often happens, on average once a month. » Specifies Cyril Poyrault.
During maintenance of boilers our technicians regularly observe a risk of imminent danger. They must then neutralize the device. This happens on average once a month.
Stoves and fireplaces too
Wood or pellet stoves and fireplaces must also be maintained regularly.
Maintenance is mandatory twice a year if it is the main heating mode installation, once before switching on the heating, once during the season. It’s the law !
If it is a backup heater a annual maintenance before reheating is sufficient.
« In the pipes we find tar, soot, bistre. They are highly flammable substances. If there is too much of them the risk of fire is enormous. They develop even more if we use wood that is not completely dry. Firewood should contain less than 20% moisture, pellets less than 8%. « Explains Régis Gerbaud chimney sweep in Saint-Gence (87).
« In a duct you can also find a dead animal, an owl, a pigeon. Even a nest of wasps or hornets if the duct is concrete or masonry, which also increases the risk of fire. » Specifies the professional.
In the event of a claim if the maintenance of your devices has not been done regularly and by a professional, your insurer may limit its guarantees.
« After a claim an expert comes to determine the causes and according to the insurance companies if the maintenance has not been done correctly this can affect the compensation. » Explains Florence Redon, insurance agent in Limoges (AXA). « We do not require a maintenance certificate, we trust our customers to protect their families. But in the event of a claim it is an expert and not an insurer who will determine the causes. »
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Today all new constructions are compulsorily equipped with smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
For others, the smoke detector has been compulsory since 2010.
« It should preferably be placed in the hallway that serves the bedrooms, because 41% of chimney fires break out in the evening or at night, so it is important that the detector is close to the sleeping area to be able to hear it very quickly ». Advised Sophie Vignerie, communications officer for the Haute-Vienne firefighters.
The carbon monoxide detector is highly recommended! All the professionals questioned on the subject are unanimous!
« We even gave it to our customers. »Indicates Florence Redon of Axa Assurance Limoges.
Beyond the legal obligations, annual and / or biannual maintenance, smoke and monoxide detectors (strongly recommended), there are simple actions to observe on a daily basis:
● Air your home for at least 10 minutes a day.
● Never obstruct the air vents of the house.
● Observe the operating instructions for combustion devices. For example, never operate an auxiliary heater continuously, but for a maximum of 2 hours.
● Regularly check the batteries of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon monoxide has the sneaky peculiarity of not having no smell. The warning signs of poisoning are insidious: headache, nausea, mild discomfort. They can lead to unconsciousness and death. If you feel them immediately open windows and doors, turn off heating and cooking appliances, leave your home. Call emergencies by dialing 15 and 18; 114 for the hearing impaired).