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Carbon Monoxide Safety Tips For The Home

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a very dangerous, invisible, odorless gaseous byproduct gas that develops when gas, coal, or oil does not completely burn. Carbon monoxide fumes are a silent killer because you can't see, taste, or smell them. Over time, even small amounts can make you sick.

What causes carbon monoxide is the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels that are burned in appliances such as ovens, ranges, furnaces, clothes dryers, hot water heaters, and space heaters which happens when a home is not properly vented.

When an appliance malfunctions, or a crack develops in a heat exchanger, it may cause a backup of carbon monoxide. Carbon can also come from burning charcoal from barbeque grills, fireplaces, wood burning stoves, gas logs, and gas heaters.

Most homes are properly vented, sending carbon emissions to the outside of the home, but a clog caused by lent, dust, dirt, or other debris can cause venting problems that lead to unsafe levels of carbon monoxide buildup inside the home.

A car should never be left running inside a closed garage, especially a garage that is attached to a home because the exhaust can seep through cracks and holes and make it's way into the home.

Early warning and/or prevention is essential for lowering carbon monoxide risks.

  • The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that every home should have at least one or more carbon monoxide alarms installed near bedrooms and other sleeping areas.
  • Alarms should be tested regularly.
  • Appliances, venting, and chimneys should be checked at least once a year, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
  • Check fireplaces for closed or blocked vents.
  • Inspect the combustion chambers of heaters, water heaters, appliances for cracks, dirt, and improper venting.

Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it takes oxygen from the body and causes flu like symptoms including headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, irritability, confusion, and if the cause is not diagnosed and left to worsen, the victims may suffer bouts of vomiting, loss of consciousness, brain damage, and death.

  • Note: Carbon monoxide poisoning can be misdiagnosed easily because of it's similarities to flu symptoms.

Important: Barbeque grills should never be used indoors for any reason and ovens and stovetops that burn oil, gas, or other fossil fuel products should never be used to heat your home.


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