The Problem With Carbon Monoxide—It’s Hazardous and It’s Deadly!
When too much CO builds up in an enclosed space, it can be poisonous—even deadly. In the United States, the Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning kills over 400 people and sends another 20,000 to the emergency room every year.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen anywhere there is a combustion engine. In cars, trucks, boats, generators, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, furnaces, or any other gas-powered equipment. That’s why it’s so important to have these appliances serviced by a professional on a regular basis.
Symptoms of CO Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen quickly and without warning. The first symptoms are often like the flu—headache, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. But unlike the flu, CO poisoning does not cause a fever.
Other symptoms of CO poisoning include:
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of coordination
If you have these symptoms and you think you might have been exposed to CO, get fresh air immediately and call 911 or your local emergency number.
How Does Carbon Monoxide Get into Your Home?
CO enters homes through small gaps and cracks in doors and windows or through vents and chimneys. Any time you burn fuel in your home, whether it’s from your furnace or water heater or even just from lighting a candle, CO is produced.
That’s why it’s important to make sure all combustion appliances are installed properly and vented according to the manufacturer’s instructions; this will help prevent CO from entering your home.
Additionally, you should never use a gas oven or stovetop to heat your home, as this increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect there may be a problem with one of your combustion appliances, call a qualified technician to inspect and repair it as soon as possible.
How to Prevent CO Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat to public health, and it’s important to be aware of the symptoms and how to prevent it.
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer—but there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your family such as the following:
- The first thing to prevent CO poisoning is to have your gas, oil, and wood-burning appliances checked by a safety professional each year before using them.
- Never use a gas stovetop or oven to heat your home.
- Never leave a car running in an enclosed space, like a garage.
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning so you can act quickly if someone in your family begins to feel sick.
- Never use a charcoal grill indoors.
- Get fresh air immediately if you think you may have been exposed to carbon monoxide gas.
- Never use a portable generator indoors or in an enclosed space.
- Never leave a fireplace fire burning overnight.
- Install CO detectors on every level of your home.
What Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Do
A carbon monoxide detector is a device that senses the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) in a building. The detectors are typically either battery-powered or AC-powered, and they sound an alarm when they detect the presence of CO. Carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in many jurisdictions.
CO detectors can’t prevent CO poisoning, but they can warn you when there are high levels of CO in the air. That gives you time to get to fresh air and call for help.
CO detectors are available at most hardware stores. They’re not very expensive, and they could save your life.
If you don’t have a CO detector in your home yet or if it’s been more than 5 years since you replaced the batteries in yours (yes, they do need batteries!), now is the time to take action.
A working CO detector can literally be a life-saving appliance—it’s worth taking a few minutes to install one (or replace the batteries in yours). And detectors are fantastic AFTER you have everything checked because they don’t sound until at least 50 PPM or parts per million and that’s already too late for most people–it’s BACK UP for safety.
For help, call us at Triple Play Home Services, and we’ll give you a closer look at how installing CO detectors can save you and your family from the risks of CO poisoning.
Give us a call today at 405-283-3977 or schedule an appointment to get started.