Is Your Home Safe From Carbon Monoxide?
According to the CDC, more than 4,000 people are hospitalized every year due to unintentional exposure to carbon monoxide (CO), a toxic gas that you cannot smell or see. It is created when fuel burns and is a potential danger that every homeowner should be aware of. Knowing what can cause CO in a house allows you to take the proper steps to reduce exposure.
SOURCES OF CARBON MONOXIDE
Since CO is the result of fuel burning, take note of what appliances in your home run on fuel, such as:
• Clothes dryers
• Gas stoves/ovens
• Motor vehicles in an attached garage
• Space heaters
• Water heaters
When these appliances are malfunctioning or not being used properly, like leaving a car running in a garage, CO can build up and expose household residents to unhealthy levels of toxic gas.
SYMPTOMS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
The fact that CO is odorless and colorless makes it easy for people to mistake the symptoms of CO poisoning for something else, such as the flu, or to miss what is happening altogether. If people are sleeping when exposed or disregarding early symptoms, they may not have enough time to get to safety and medical attention before they lose consciousness. Early symptoms of CO exposure are often headaches and breathlessness with moderate exercise. Additional symptoms can appear with continued exposure, including:
• Impaired coordination
• Chest pain
Those who are more susceptible to CO poisonings, such as infants and children, the elderly, and people with underlying health conditions such as heart disease or breathing problems, will likely show symptoms sooner than the average healthy person. However, everyone is at risk, so it is important to know how to tell the difference between CO poisoning and other health conditions. Tell-tale signs that you may be suffering from CO poisoning include:
• You feel sick at home, but symptoms subside when you leave the house
• You and your indoor pets appear sick at the same time
• Your flu-like symptoms are not accompanied by a fever
If you think that you have been exposed to CO in your home, immediately have everyone exit the house, go outside for fresh air and call 911.
You don’t want to wait until you have symptoms to protect yourself from CO exposure. There are steps you can take today to safeguard your home and your health.
• Install CO detectors around your house, testing them monthly and replacing the batteries yearly.
• Have your appliances serviced yearly by professionals like an HVAC service company, even if the appliances seem to be working fine. This can help detect leaks and other potential problems.
• Ensure that your appliances are vented properly to the outdoors, not allowing any leaks inside your home.
• Never burn charcoal, use portable gas camping stoves, or use a generator indoors.
• Open flues when fireplaces are in use and ensure that your chimney is not blocked by having it checked or cleaned yearly.
Protecting your home from CO is extremely important, but it does not need to be an added stress. Parker’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides licensed HVAC contractor services in Cordele, Leesburg, and Americus, GA, and can test your home for any detectable amounts of CO. Contact us today to schedule a thorough inspection of your house by our HVAC maintenance team, putting your mind at ease that your home is safe from CO. To learn more or schedule an appointment, you can call us at 229-303-4049.