You Cannot See or Smell Carbon Monoxide But It Can Kill You
Potential poisoning by Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a serious issue. Carbon Monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas produced by fuel-burning appliances making it the silent killer. It cannot be detected by smell, taste or sight. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that 8,000 to 15,000 people each year are examined or treated in hospitals for non-fire related CO poisoning. CPSC also estimates that acute CO Poisoning contributes annually to more than 2,000 deaths in the United States. Breathed over long periods of time, low concentrations of CO may also contribute to other illness and the elderly and very young are especially vulnerable. At high concentrations, CO poisoning is easy to overlook because the symptoms are non-specific and your symptoms may come and go if CO concentrations change quickly.
The best way to prevent CO poisoning is to make sure your fuel-burning appliances are operating, venting and maintained properly, and by installing a CO alarm capable of low level monitoring and alarm. b The choice of CO Monitor is important as many CO alarms available to public through home improvement stores only alarm at high level of concentrations. Often times when CO reaches this level, building occupants are already adversely affected by CO,b says Kevin Schumann of Comfort Central, Inc. Mr. Schumann also reminds us that fuel-burning appliances include: furnaces, stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, water heaters and clothes dryers. It is important to have these appliances professionally inspected yearly.
Other recommendations from the CPSC include:
- Move the car outside and away from the garage to warm up.
- Donb t heat the house with ovens or gas ranges. These produce high levels of CO when the doors are left open.
- Check the furnaces and water heaters to be sure the flues havenb t been disturbed and separated.
- Verify the damper is open before using the fireplace.
- Keep areas around combustion appliances clear to avoid blocking combustion air from entering the room or appliance.
- Never burn charcoal or gas BBQb s indoorsb even in the garage.
- Do not use unvented kerosene or gas space heaters indoors for a long period of time.
- Do not start a lawnmower or other gas powered appliance in home, garage or shed. This includes fuel powered generators.
- Remain aware of CO poisoning. Act immediately if any symptoms are realized.
b You want to be warm and safe in your home this winter,b Mr. Schumann advised, b Understanding CO is the first step to preparing your home with adequate monitoring. When coupled with maintenance from a qualified professional, you may save a lot more than just energy.b
To learn more of what should be included in a professional inspection, how to select a CO Monitor, where CO Monitors should be located, as well as, other home comfort tips, contact us today!