Icy temperatures encourage homeowners to secure their homes and turn up the thermostat, expanding the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Around 50,000 people in the U.S. end up in the emergency room each year as a result of unintended CO poisoning, and more than 400 people die.
This odorless, tasteless, colorless gas is a byproduct of imperfect combustion, meaning that it’s created every time a material is burned. If some appliances in your home use natural gas, oil, propane, kerosene, wood, gasoline or charcoal, you’re at risk of CO inhalation. Learn what happens when you inhale carbon monoxide fumes and how to lower your risk of poisoning this winter.
Commonly known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is lethal because it keeps the body from consuming oxygen appropriately. CO molecules dislodge oxygen that’s part of the blood, depriving the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs of oxygen. Large volumes 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 take place slowly if the concentration is comparatively modest. The most prevalent signs of CO inhalation include:
As these symptoms imitate the flu, numerous people never find out they have carbon monoxide poisoning until mild symptoms evolve to organ damage. Watch out for symptoms that subside when you leave the house, suggesting the source might be originating from inside.
While CO exposure is intimidating, it’s also entirely avoidable. Here are the best ways to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide gas.
If you ever use combustion appliances in or near your home, you should put in carbon monoxide detectors to warn you of CO emissions. These alarms can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into an outlet according to the style. Here’s how to make the most of your carbon monoxide detectors:
Many appliances, like furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and clothes dryers, could emit carbon monoxide if the equipment is installed improperly or not working as it should. A once-a-year maintenance visit is the only way to know for sure if an appliance is faulty before a leak develops.
A precision tune-up from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing includes 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 help provide a safe, warm home all year-round. Contact 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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