Cold temperatures lead homeowners to seal up their homes and turn up the thermostat, expanding the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Close to 50,000 people in the U.S. visit the emergency room annually as a result of inadvertent CO poisoning, and more than 400 people die.
This odorless, tasteless, colorless gas is a byproduct of imperfect combustion, which means it’s produced each time a material is combusted or used for fuel. If some appliances in your home rely on natural gas, oil, propane, kerosene, wood, gasoline or charcoal, you’re at risk of CO poisoning. Find out what happens when you inhale carbon monoxide fumes and how to reduce your risk of poisoning this winter.
Frequently referred to as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is lethal because it keeps the body from taking in oxygen appropriately. CO molecules displace oxygen within the blood, depriving the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs of oxygen. Dense concentrations of CO can overtake your system in minutes, triggering loss of consciousness and suffocation. Without prompt care, brain damage or death could occur.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also take place gradually if the concentration is comparatively low. The most prevalent signs of CO exposure include:
As these symptoms imitate the flu, a lot of people won’t discover they have carbon monoxide poisoning until minor symptoms evolve to organ damage. Look out for symptoms that subside when you leave home, indicating the source could be someplace inside.
While CO inhalation is intimidating, it’s also entirely avoidable. Here are the ideal ways to help your family avoid carbon monoxide gas.
If you ever run combustion appliances in or near your home, you should install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of CO emissions. These devices can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into an outlet according to the style. Here’s how to take full advantage of your carbon monoxide detectors:
Several appliances, including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and clothes dryers, can leak carbon monoxide if the appliance is installed incorrectly or not working as it should. An annual maintenance visit is the only way to ensure if an appliance is defective before a leak develops.
A precision tune-up from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing offers the following:
If your gas furnace, boiler or water heater has developed a CO leak, or you want to thwart 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. Get in touch with your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for more info about carbon monoxide safety or to schedule heating services.
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