You can’t see it. You can’t smell it. You can’t touch it. Carbon monoxide (CO) is called a ‘silent killer' because the highly poisonous gas is odorless and colorless. It mixes with air and if it is breathed in, it can cause brain damage or even death. The most common cause of a carbon monoxide outbreak in homes is an older furnace or appliance that is not burning the natural gas properly. Because of the high risk, every home with a gas furnace or gas appliances needs to have carbon monoxide detectors.
Be aware of the common sources of carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is produced when fossil fuel (like natural gas) is not fully burned. This happens as a result of a malfunction or the lack of proper venting. Common sources include:
● an idling vehicle in an attached garage
● attached garage passageway door to your home is left ajar
● cracked or damaged furnace heat exchanger
● chimneys on fuel-burning appliances needing to be cleaned or repaired
● heated garages or shops with improperly vented equipment
● barbecuing indoors
● depressurization (inside air is exhausted from your home faster than outside fresh air can come in)
Recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Exposure to carbon monoxide is very risky to your health and with enough exposure, it is fatal. Properly installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home will protect you from experiencing these symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
● muscle weakness
● shortness of breath
● blurred vision
● loss of consciousness
If you experience something like the flu without a fever, it could be carbon monoxide poisoning. If you experience these symptoms, get outside into the fresh air immediately, seek medical attention and then contact your preferred home services company.
Stop the silent killer
● Get an annual inspection of all your fuel-burning appliances by an expert technician from your preferred home services company.
● Install a carbon monoxide alarm near all sleeping areas (if your home has any fuel-burning appliances, furnace, fireplace, or attached garage).
● For added protection, install a carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home.
● Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installing and maintaining your carbon monoxide detectors.
● Never use outdoor fuel-burning equipment (generators, patio heaters, barbecues) inside your home or garage as a temporary heat source.
If your carbon monoxide alarm sounds and someone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, get outside immediately and call 911.
If the alarm sounds, but no one is experiencing any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, shut off all your gas appliances (and/or the main gas shut off valve), ventilate your home and contact your home services company. You need a qualified technician to determine the cause of the carbon monoxide outbreak and the solution.
Protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have a gas furnace or any gas appliances, be sure to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, and have your furnace and gas appliances inspected annually.