Carbon monoxide can build up in homes due to a number of causes. Exposure can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can be deadly, so homeowners must know how to identify carbon monoxide dangers as well as how to prevent them. The technicians at Energy Savers outline the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and what to do to prevent the buildup of carbon monoxide in your Columbus, GA, area home.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Carbon monoxide, abbreviated as CO, is a colorless and odorless gas that naturally occurs as a byproduct of combustion. Combustion is a process that occurs in gas appliances such as furnaces and stoves, as well as within your vehicle’s gas engine.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Normally, gas appliances safely vent carbon monoxide and other combustion byproducts out of the home to prevent exposure to occupants. However, malfunctions can cause carbon monoxide to back up in the home. When exposed to carbon monoxide indoors, the body’s red blood cells fill with CO instead of oxygen. Without oxygen, the body’s systems cannot function properly. Carbon monoxide exposure can cause tissue damage as well as death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 430 people in the United States die each year from CO poisoning.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Because CO cannot be seen or smelled, often physical symptoms of CO poisoning are the first indicators of carbon monoxide dangers in the home. If you notice the signs of CO exposure, call 911 immediately. Exposure symptoms mimic many common flu symptoms, including:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Loss of consciousness
Carbon monoxide dangers are elevated for individuals who are asleep or intoxicated, as symptoms may not be realized until serious damage or fatality has occurred.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Dangers at Home
Any Columbus, Georgia, home with one or more fuel-burning appliances, an attached garage, or a fireplace should take precautions to prevent carbon monoxide dangers. The tips below will teach you how to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your home.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. It is advised to install CO detectors on each level of the home and in all sleeping areas. They should be unobstructed and located at least 15 feet away from any attached garage entrances or fuel-burning appliances. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for placement of the units. If the CO detector’s alarm sounds, exit the home and call 911.
- Test carbon monoxide detectors weekly, and clean them monthly. Carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every five to seven years.
- When purchasing gas appliances, look for the seal of UL (Underwriters’ Laboratories) or other trusted national testing agency.
- Ensure gas appliances are correctly installed and vented to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in the home. Work with a trusted professional to make sure your new equipment is properly and safely installed.
- Have all fuel-burning heating systems and other appliances serviced by a professional at least once per year to ensure proper performance and safe operation.
- Do not use portable gas stoves, charcoal grills, gas heaters, or generators inside the home.
- Never use a gas range or oven to heat the home. Doing so can cause carbon monoxide to build up indoors.
- If your home has a fireplace, have the chimney inspected and cleaned every year. Debris can block the chimney, causing carbon monoxide to back up into living areas.
- Do not allow vehicles to run inside attached garages, even when the garage door is open.
Avoid Carbon Monoxide Dangers with Energy Savers
Energy Savers helps homeowners throughout Columbus and Opelika prevent carbon monoxide poisoning with quality installation, repairs, and maintenance for your gas heating equipment. Schedule annual maintenance with a qualified technician to ensure the safe performance of your gas heating system or boiler. Contact us today to make an appointment.