Carbon monoxide (CO) is a natural byproduct found in fuel burned in cars or trucks, stoves, grills, gas fireplaces and furnaces. When it builds up in the air indoors, it can poison the people and animals who breathe it. This silent danger affects thousands of individuals every year, with more than 20,000 people visiting the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s even the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States, with 400 people dying every year from CO poisoning.
Safeguarding Your Home from Carbon Monoxide
“It won’t happen to me” is a common thought regarding carbon monoxide poisoning. However, the statistics above prove differently. Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, and many of those affected by it don’t realize it’s building up in the air until it’s too late. This is why it’s so vital you take measures to protect your home and family from being exposed to CO, including:
- Install a carbon monoxide detector. The easiest and most effective way to protect yourself against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a CO detector in your home. They cost as little as thirty dollars but can be priceless in keeping your family safe. Place the detector in an area that will wake you up if it gets set off, and replace it every five years with a newer, more effective model.
- Understand the risks. Educate yourself about the dangers of carbon monoxide, and know the symptoms. Inhaling CO can cause serious health issues, and at lower concentrations you might experience dizziness, headache, weakness, nausea and vomiting, and chest pain.
- Keep vents clear. Check your vents outdoors and ensure nothing is blocking the airflow of your dryer, stove, furnace and fireplace vents. During storms, debris like leaves and dirt can build up around these areas, so make sure you’re inspecting them regularly to keep them clear, allowing an exit for any carbon monoxide that might otherwise collect in the air inside.
- Check your appliances. If appliances like gas dryers, ranges and ovens are not installed properly, carbon monoxide easily gets produced within your home. This goes back to making sure they are vented effectively, as well as ensuring pipes are fitted tightly to prevent leaking.
- Ensure fireplaces and chimneys are properly vented. If your home has a fireplace, the fireplace and chimney should both be inspected on an annual basis. Any blockages in the chimney could cause carbon monoxide to back up into your home.
If you have any questions about how to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning and what type of CO detector is recommended for your home, the team at Efficient Heating and Cooling is ready to help! If you’re in the greater Cleveland area, contact our team today! Or, give us a call at 216-663-6462.