Are You Protected From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans will die this year from exposure to carbon monoxide, with more than 20,000 people landing in the emergency room as a result of exposure to this deadly gas.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that has the potential of affecting everyone throughout our community. It is a chemical produced by the incomplete burning of natural gas or other products that contain carbon. Winter can be especially dangerous as we bring out space heaters, generators, and other portable heating devices to warm up the spaces we spend time in. But it’s not the only place you’ll find carbon monoxide:
- Anything that burns coal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane or wood
- Your car’s engine
- Charcoal grills
- Indoor and portable heating systems
- Stoves (wood burning, gas operated, etc)
- Water heaters that use natural gas
When you breathe in carbon monoxide, the poison replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. The more you take in, the more your heart, brain, and body become starved of oxygen. While symptoms will vary from person to person, the results can be long lasting, even permanent in some cases. Young children, elderly, people with lung or heart disease, smokers, and others with chronic conditions may all be more susceptible to the effects.
Symptoms can include:
- Breathing problems
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
- Weakness and achiness
- Impaired judgment
- Nausea and vomiting
Prevention is easy.
Install a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home. Place an additional detector near any major gas-burning appliance, such as a furnace or water heater. Make sure the detectors are of great quality that can detect down to 10 ppm (parts per million), a lot of low quality detectors will only alarm at 50 ppm, this is already past the limit you start to feel the physical effects of carbon monoxide.
Have all gas appliances inspected on a regular basis. It’s the easiest way to ensure they are safe to use. It’s the best way to ensure they operating the way they were intended, and aren’t putting you and your family at risk. Make sure you replace equipment that is past it’s expected life cycle.