Icy temperatures lead homeowners to seal up their homes and crank up the thermostat, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) inhalation. Around 50,000 people in the U.S. go to the emergency room every year as a result of inadvertent CO poisoning, and more than 400 people die.
This odorless, tasteless, colorless gas is a result of imperfect combustion, which means it’s produced every time a material burns. If some appliances in your home rely on natural gas, oil, propane, kerosene, wood, gasoline or charcoal, you’re susceptible to CO inhalation. Learn what happens when you inhale carbon monoxide fumes and how to reduce your risk of poisoning this winter.
Commonly known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is lethal because it keeps the body from processing oxygen properly. CO molecules displace oxygen in the blood, depriving the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overpower your system in minutes, leading to loss of consciousness and suffocation. Without immediate care, brain damage or death may occur.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also happen slowly if the concentration is fairly minimal. The most common signs of CO poisoning include:
As these symptoms mimic the flu, numerous people never discover they have carbon monoxide poisoning until moderate symptoms progress to organ damage. Look out for symptoms that subside when you leave the house, illustrating the source might be someplace inside.
While CO exposure is alarming, it’s also entirely avoidable. Here are the ideal ways to help your family avoid carbon monoxide exposure.
If you ever operate combustion appliances in or close to your home, you should install carbon monoxide detectors to warn you of CO gas. These detectors can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into an outlet based on the style. Here’s how to reap all the benefits of your carbon monoxide detectors:
Multiple appliances, including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and clothes dryers, can leak carbon monoxide if the equipment is installed poorly or not performing as it should. An annual maintenance visit is the only way to ensure if an appliance is malfunctioning before a leak develops.
A precision tune-up from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing consists of the following:
If your gas furnace, boiler or water heater has sprung a CO leak, or you want to stop leaks before they happen, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC and plumbing maintenance and repair services encourage a safe, warm home all year-round. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for more details about carbon monoxide safety or to ask for heating services.
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