On safe use of gas appliances
AS Eesti Gaas is most concerned with accidents that have lately occurred involving gas burning water heaters. Below are listed the most essential safety requirements which must be kept in mind when using your gas appliances.
First, it must be noted that intoxication is not caused by gaseous fuel but carbon monoxide – similarly, firewood itself is not hazardous: what is dangerous is the product of burning firewood. Gaseous fuel used in Estonia does not contain toxic components; therefore it is impossible for a leaking gas appliance to cause poisoning. So that gas leaks might be discovered quickly, gas is odorized and can be smelled even in the case of a small leak.
What can result in poisoning is carbon monoxide produced in incomplete burning of gaseous fuel. Incomplete burning may be caused by gas appliances that are not in good technical condition, insufficient smoke ventilation, and substandard ventilation systems for carbon monoxide removal. To ensure a normal burning process of one cubic meter of natural gas, at least 10 cubic meters of air are required. Insufficient ventilation and obstructed fresh air inflow result in incomplete burning. Consequently, dangerous situations include closing in or clogging of smoke flues and ventilation ducts and closing of bathroom door vent openings. It is of utmost importance for every owner of a gas boiler to regularly check their appliance for proper airflow in smoke flues and ventilation ducts and ensure proper ventilation in the bathroom. In renovating apartment buildings, it must be made sure that project based natural ventilation is preserved upon replacing windows and doors.
Gas appliances as well as smoke flues and ventilation ducts must be regularly checked by qualified specialists. Owners must check their gas appliances in adherence to the manufacturer’s instructions, in most cases once a year. In adherence to the Fire Safety Act, the possessor of an apartment building must once a year employ a certified chimney sweep to inspect smoke and ventilation ducts that are in joint ownership by different apartment owners; the chimney sweep issues a chimney cleaning report concerning the technical condition and safety of the heating system. In addition to obligatory smoke alarms it is also recommended to install a carbon monoxide alarm that will give out a warning if the system is not functioning properly. Carbon monoxide alarms are available at stores selling fire safety equipment with prices starting from EUR 30. Manufacturer’s instructions must be followed in installing and using the alarm. Below are a few useful links in Estonian:
Finally, parents are strongly advised not to leave their children unattended in a bathroom for extended periods of time.