Identifying and resolving carbon monoxide (CO) safety hazards in your home can help keep you and your family from becoming the next statistic. In an average year, nearly 450 people die due to CO poisoning. Over 55,000 are poisoned severely enough to require emergency room treatment followed by hospitalization.
An odorless, colorless gas, CO is a byproduct of internal-combustion exhaust, as well as emissions from furnaces, stoves, water heaters, and other household appliances that burn natural gas, propane, or even firewood. While trace amounts of CO are usually harmless, the difference between harmless amounts of carbon monoxide and levels that are dangerous or even fatal is relatively small. Early symptoms of CO poisoning resemble many common maladies including flu or simple fatigue. In fact, the majority of carbon monoxide deaths occur while victims are sleeping, having gone to bed unaware that the house is filling with deadly CO.
Prevention is the best protection against the hazards of carbon monoxide in the home. Here are some carbon monoxide safety measures to keep your household safe:
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. Just like smoke alarms, CO detectors continuously monitor the indoor environment. If hazardous levels of carbon monoxide gas are detected, a loud alarm sounds to warn occupants. Place one on each floor, plus one outside the door of every bedroom. If there’s an attached garage, place a detector near the inside door leading to the garage. Test the units monthly by pushing the “Test” button. Replace the batteries twice a year.
- Schedule an annual furnace tuneup by a qualified HVAC service provider. This standard procedure includes testing for carbon monoxide levels in furnace exhaust and throughout the house. Also, contact a plumber about regular professional maintenance for the stove and water heater, if they are gas-fired.
- Make sure furnace and water heater vent pipes are unobstructed all the way to the roof and not collapsing or deteriorated.
- Never run an automobile, lawn mower, or other internal-combustion device inside the garage with the door closed.
For professional advice about carbon monoxide safety in your home, contact Beyer Boys.