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Carbon Monoxide Safety

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There are several home safety and efficiency checks to perform to make sure that everything is running as it should before the cooler weather hits.

When HVAC professionals do a complete inspection on your heating equipment they are working to ensure that everything is running smoothly and that there are no dangerous gas leaks or build up of carbon monoxide in your home. One of the other important checks that all homeowners and renters should perform at this change of seasons is verifying that their Carbon Monoxide detectors are working properly.

Every year, more than 400 people die in the U.S. from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning.

The CDC reports that, during the years of 2010-2015, a total of 2,244 deaths occurred from carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest numbers of death occurring in the cooler months. Sadly these deaths and trips to the ER are preventable when people are prepared.

Here’s some important things to know about carbon monoxide (taken from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention)

What is carbon monoxide (CO)?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause sudden illness and death if inhaled.

CO is found in combustion fumes, such as those produced by small gasoline engines, stoves, generators, lanterns, and gas ranges, or by burning charcoal and wood. CO from these sources can build up in enclosed or partially enclosed spaces. People and animals in these spaces can be poisoned and can die from breathing CO.

How to Recognize CO Poisoning

Exposure to CO can cause loss of consciousness and death. The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. People who are sleeping or who have been drinking alcohol can die from CO poisoning before ever having symptoms.

Important CO Poisoning Prevention Tips

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat a home.

  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.

  • Never use a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.

  • When using a generator, use a battery-powered or battery backup CO detector in your home.

  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open, unless the equipment is professionally installed and vented. Keep vents and flues free of debris, especially if winds are high. Flying debris can block ventilation lines.

  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.

  • If conditions are too hot or too cold, seek shelter with friends or at a community shelter.

  • If CO poisoning is suspected, call 911 or your local Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or consult a health care professional right away.

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