As temperatures drop, effectively sealing your home from the cold can lead to a dangerous situation for your family. Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless, and toxic gas many household appliances produce. It’s important to understand the risks that carbon monoxide in the home poses to your family and how to keep them safe.
Things to Know About Carbon Monoxide (CO) in the Home
What is CO Gas?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced from the incomplete combustion of fuel. Vehicles, generators, fire, and fuel-burning appliances produce carbon monoxide. The gas is poisonous and can quickly accumulate in an enclosed area, like your home, if not ventilated properly. Household appliances like gas furnaces, water heaters, stoves, and dryers may emit carbon monoxide when not operating correctly. CO poisoning can lead to symptoms like headaches, dizziness, confusion, nausea, and even death.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Your Home
Install CO detectors on each level of your home and replace the batteries annually. Place the devices in areas where your family spends the most time and near fuel-burning appliances. Test the detectors monthly to verify they are working correctly.
Inspect and Maintain Appliances
Appliance upkeep is crucial for safety. Hire a professional to inspect fuel-burning household appliances. Verify they are well-ventilated and cleaned regularly to prevent blockages that can cause a build-up of CO gas.
Examine your chimneys and flues for blockages, damage, and debris – like leaves and animal nests – that can obstruct the airflow and lead to CO gas in the home. At least annually, hire a professional to inspect the chimney and fireplace and make any needed repairs.
Detecting CO Gas
Know the signs of a carbon monoxide leak and take action if you suspect something is wrong. If a CO detector alarms, evacuate the house immediately and call a professional service to fix the problem. If you or a family member experiences symptoms of CO exposure, including headache, dizziness, nausea, or confusion, seek medical assistance.
Carbon monoxide is a serious threat that can harm your family. Educate your family to understand the causes and risks associated with CO exposure, and take precautions to keep your loved ones safe. Maintain the appliances, install carbon detectors, and seek professional service at the first sign of trouble. Your pets and loved ones can be at risk, so safeguard against carbon monoxide poisoning to keep everyone in the house safe.