The problems are not uncommon in snow drifts but due to the unusually constant snow we have suffered over the past couple of months there has been a significant rise in the amount of reported cases. All boilers and fires have some form of air intake as well as a release for the poisonous outputs such as carbon monoxide; however when heavy snow falls when the systems are off and not releasing heat, the build-up of compacted snow and ice can cause simple blockages.
These types of problems more commonly occur in newer high efficiency systems that have the vents closer to ground level, as they leave the property via the sill plate using plastic PVC. Most new systems have some form of automatic cut off, whereby if the vents block they automatically shut the appliance down, but many appliances do not have this facility and can cause a fatal emission of poisonous gases into the home.
It is advised that people should have suitable carbon monoxide detectors in their homes, and for many landlords this is mandatory, as well as ensuring that these are changed on a regular basis.
Mike Falese, who is Bartlett Fire Chief, said “People are not aware that they have dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in their home unless they have a carbon monoxide detector. Thankfully, recent incidents included these alarms.”