Whether you’re enjoying your fireplace, warming up the car, or cooking dinner on the grill, many of the appliances that we use every day can also create carbon monoxide. While fireplaces, furnaces, and other heating appliances are designed to safely vent these gasses when working correctly, it is important that homeowners be able to recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, as well as learn how to prevent it.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is the “silent killer,” a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is impossible to detect without the use of special equipment. Because it is virtually undetectable, it is important that homeowners can easily recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is created in combustion reactions, but is not limited to gas. Wood, coal, propane, kerosene, and natural gas can all create carbon monoxide. However, most appliances that burn these fuels have safety precautions that allow the gas to safely vent to the outside. Because of this, carbon monoxide poisoning is often caused by issues such as improper fireplace venting, vehicles idling in closed garages, or broken furnaces.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
It is important that homeowners recognize the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, especially when fuel burning appliances are in use. In small concentrations, carbon monoxide poisoning presents as flu-like symptoms. This can include headaches, nausea, and feelings of sleepiness. In greater concentrations, these symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure will continue to worsen as impaired cognitive function and decreased vision and coordination occur. In high concentrations, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to coma and death.
If you believe that you are experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to move immediately to a fresh air area such as outdoors or near an open door or window. Emergency services should be contacted before returning indoors. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills as many as 400 people in the United States each year. However, there are many ways that homeowners can reduce their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning
There are a number of easy ways that homeowners can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
– Install carbon monoxide detectors on every floor of your home, especially near fuel-burning appliances such as water heaters or fireplaces. Detectors should also be placed outside sleeping areas.
– Test batteries in carbon monoxide detectors every six months and replace as necessary.
– Have fireplaces inspected annually for signs of damage or venting issues.
– Never leave an idling car in the garage, even if the door is open.
– Do not run generators in enclosed spaces such as garages, sheds, or basements.
– Avoid using grills near open doors or windows.
– Replace vent free space heaters with models that vent to the outside when possible.
– Do not leave the oven running with the door open as a way to heat the kitchen
By taking simple, common sense precautions homeowners can significantly reduce their risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and allow you to enjoy your fuel burning appliances without worry. If you have questions about how your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning, contact Coopertown Services today for more information about preventing carbon monoxide poisoning.