Are You At Risk Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Every year there are reports of deaths caused by carbon monoxide. It’s not something to play around with. But how do you know if you’re safe? How do you know if you’re doing all you can within your home?
Carbon monoxide is a gas that has no odor, color or taste. You can’t see or smell it, but if it’s there, it can be very dangerous to your health, even fatal.
Carbon monoxide can be introduced into your home in many ways:
- Unvented kerosene or gas space heaters
- Leaking furnaces
- Cracked furnace heat exchangers
- Leaking chimneys
- Backdrafting from furnaces
- Gas water heaters and fireplaces
- Gas stoves
- Generators and other gasoline powered equipment
- Automobile exhaust
And many other things.
Danger arises when carbon monoxide is trapped in a poorly ventilated area. When people spend a lot of time in those areas, they can be quickly impacted, depending on the levels settling in. If there is too much carbon monoxide in the air you breathe in, your ability to absorb oxygen is diminished, resulting in serious tissue damage.
Initial symptoms can be similar to the flu. They may include a dull headache, dizziness, or nausea. Higher levels of poisoning can result in vomiting, shortness of breath, blurred vision and loss of consciousness.
If carbon monoxide is slowly leaking into your home, people often mistake it for flu. Faster leaks can increase the symptoms tenfold, so it’s sometimes easier to diagnose, but can also cause lasting damage, or be fatal in some cases. Which is why it’s important to take action immediately.
Go outside and get fresh air immediately after you suspect a problem. Contact the fire department and see a doctor as soon as possible.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, make sure you have a carbon monoxide detector installed in the hallway of every area of your home that is used for sleeping. Most CO detectors need to be replaced every 5 years due to sensor failure and replace with one that can read 10ppm (parts per million) or better.
Travel detectors are also available.
However, a detector is not a substitute for making sure your home is operating effectively. Check to see all appliances are properly installed and operating according to manufacturer’s instructions. Get your heating equipment inspected and serviced each year. Do not use portable generators or other gasoline powered equipment in your garage or near your home. And if you have any questions concerning your family’s safety, just ask.
Is your home safe from carbon monoxide?