Carbon monoxide poisoning could mean a trip to the emergency room, or worse. Each year, more than 400 Americans are killed accidentally by this invisible, odorless gas, and another 20,000 require medical attention. Here are five things every homeowner should know about the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning and what can be done to prevent it.
About Carbon Monoxide
- It can build up in any home – Carbon monoxide, or CO, is an invisible, odorless gas produced during combustion. This means common household items pose a threat, including heating systems, gas stoves, small engines, cars, or even simply burning wood or charcoal. CO poses a risk when it’s allowed to build up in an enclosed space. This is why you should always use camp stoves or grills outdoors and never use a gas range or oven to heat your home.
- It’s hard to diagnose – Common symptoms of CO poisoning mimic other illnesses, so it can be difficult to identify. Symptoms include headache, nausea, dizziness, weakness, vomiting and general confusion. If you’re asleep or intoxicated when exposed to carbon monoxide, it can kill you even before you experience symptoms.
- Some people are at higher risk – Though all people and animals are at risk of CO poisoning, unborn babies, young children and those with heart disease are more susceptible.
Steps for Prevention
- Check home appliances regularly – Have your gas-fueled furnace, water heater and any other fuel-burning appliance inspected by a qualified technician every year. Always ensure gas appliances are vented properly so carbon monoxide can not build up inside your home. It’s also a good idea to have your chimney checked and cleaned annually.
- Install a detector (or better yet, two, three or four) – Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, which will alert you and your family if CO begins to build up indoors. Remember to check and replace batteries when you change your clocks every spring and fall.
For more information about how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, please contact us at Aqua Plumbing & Air. We will be happy to assist you with any concerns you may have about safety or comfort for your Sarasota or Manatee County home.