Family relieved as poison gas detector is installed

A FAMILY whose boiler was leaking high levels of carbon monoxide can breathe a sigh of relief after Bury Free Press inquiries prompted its landlord to fit a detector.

Havebury Housing Partnership had not fitted a detector in the family home when a new boiler was installed last June, despite paperwork stating it had done so.

Tenant Philip Old and his partner have four children under the age of seven. After repeated problems with their heating system Mr Old became suspicious that a gas was being emitted from their boiler, which is housed in a shed adjoining their Cedar Road home, in Barrow.

A Havebury engineer sent to investigate his complaint discovered high levels of carbon monoxide.

Mr Old said that the readings were as high as 750 parts per million (ppm) – the Health and Safety Executive says that 30 ppm is the long term exposure limit based on an eight hour working day. Exposure to high concentrations can lead to brain or heart damage and death.

Havebury’s engineer replaced a faulty boiler nozzle, but no detector was fitted as records indicated the home already had one.

Detectors measure carbon monoxide levels over time and sound an alarm before dangerous concentrations are reached.

It is Havebury’s policy to fit them in all of its homes where the primary source of heating is gas, oil or solid fuel.

Mr Old, 30, said: “I was so angry – we could have died.”

Philip Sullivan, Havebury’s director of operations, said: “When the tenant reported fumes, our contractor attended as well as an engineer from the boiler manufacturer, who found a fault in the boiler’s nozzle. This was causing high levels of carbon monoxide, but these were contained within the appliance and fumes did not escape into the home. The nozzle was replaced.”

After inquiries by the Bury Free Press a member of Havebury’s property team visited the home and discovered that a monitor had not been fitted. One has now been installed.

Mr Old said: “I’m glad it’s sorted now and hope that it makes them (Havebury) pay more attention.”

Mr Sullivan said: “We have since been working with our contractor, who has reassured us that measures have been put in place to ensure this doesn’t happen again.”