Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas. It is often referred to as the “silent killer” because it is impossible to detect without specialized equipment such as carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon monoxide gas is naturally created as a byproduct of combustion in all fuel-burning fires. Wood, gas, kerosene, propane, and coal are just a few of the fuel sources that create carbon monoxide gas when burned.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
While carbon monoxide poisoning is rare, it can be fatal; because of this, all homeowners should understand the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. In the United States alone, more than 400 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide gas is poisonous and extremely hazardous to your health. With low levels of exposure to the gas, carbon monoxide poisoning often mimics flu-like symptoms including headache, nausea, and drowsiness. With continued exposure, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause impaired coordination, vision, and cognitive functioning. In high concentrations, exposure to carbon monoxide gas can lead to coma and even death.
If you believe you are suffering the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to move to a fresh air location such as outdoors or near an open window as soon as possible. Emergency services should then be called.
How can I prevent carbon monoxide leaks?
Homeowners shouldn’t stop using their fireplaces, furnaces, or other fuel-burning appliances in fear of carbon monoxide poisoning. Instead, there are a number of easy and common sense ways to prevent carbon monoxide leaks.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon monoxide detectors should be installed on every floor of your home, especially near fuel-burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas. In addition to testing the detectors every 6 months to ensure they are still working, homeowners should have them replaced every 7-10 years; this ensures the carbon monoxide detectors are up to date with current technology and safety standards.
- Have fireplaces and stoves swept and inspected.
Regular maintenance such as chimney sweepings and inspections should be conducted at least once per year. This ensures that your heating appliance is free from damage or deterioration that could cause a carbon monoxide leak.
- Never allow cars to idle in garages, even when the door is open.
- Move grills away from open windows and doors.
- Replace vent-free space heaters with vented models when possible.
If using a vent-free fireplace or space heater, crack a window in the room.
- Do not run generators in enclosed spaces such as garages or basements.
Use your fireplace with increased peace of mind this winter by having it swept and inspected to help prevent carbon monoxide leaks. For more information on preventing carbon monoxide leaks or to schedule your next maintenance appointment, contact the experts at Coopertown Services today!