Carbon Monoxide Safety
Carbon monoxide will cause death or serious brain damage to more than 500 victims this year- don’t let a family member be one of them!
What exactly is it? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct from burning various fuels and can come from a variety of common, everyday home appliances…and it’s poisonous to breathe in. Have you ever heard that you should never start your car or lawn mower with the garage door closed? That’s why. It’s a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas, making it a difficult opponent. Make sure your family doesn’t fall victim to this silent killer by knowing the facts. Homes are most at risk during the fall, when people are starting up their furnaces, boiler, or other seasonal combustion appliances for the first time in months.
Normally the toxic gases from fuel combustion are expelled from the home, but processes called the “stack effect” and “backdraft” trap them inside. The stack effect is when faulty appliances create a negative air pressure inside the home by ventilating too much air out of the home. The building will then “backdraft” to compensate for the air pressure imbalance by sucking air- including toxic gases- back inside.
This is usually caused by loose vent pipes, cracked metal, or corrosion. Your home could also have internal equipment damage, malfunctioning components, or hidden blockage or damage in the vent or chimney. But how do you know?
Call us at 877-339-8124 for an annual inspection. (…right about now would be a good time!) We can clean and tune- up the central heating system and check for chimney air leaks, cracked heat exchangers, and improperly installed or loose vent pipes. Make sure your family knows the warning signs and what to do to prevent a CO nightmare.
Because it’s indiscernible by our senses, carbon monoxide can really sneak up on you- and your home’s CO detector! Because air can stratify, low- level leaks are difficult to identify, you should have at least one CO alarm on each floor of your home, and make sure it has a battery back up if it is hard-wired or plug-in.
What to do if your alarm goes off:
Turn off combustion appliances, open all doors & windows, leave the home, and seek medical attention for a blood check. CO exposure is so dangerous because it interferes with the way your body absorbs oxygen, and can result in death or serious brain damage.
Symptoms of CO exposure include dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath- unfortunately, those are also symptoms for dozens of other illnesses, so it’s best to stay on the safe side and just get your home checked!
Some visible warning signs include:
- moisture inside your windows
- loose or disconnected vent pipes
- loose or missing furnace panels
- soot or debris in or around your furnace
- rust or water streaks on your furnace vent or chimney