Winter temperatures lead homeowners to batten down their homes and raise the thermostat, elevating the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure. Around 50,000 people in the U.S. go to the emergency room each year as a result of accidental CO poisoning, and more than 400 people die.
This odorless, tasteless, colorless gas is a byproduct of imperfect combustion, which means it’s produced each time a material burns. If any appliances in your home use natural gas, oil, propane, kerosene, wood, gasoline or charcoal, you’re at risk of CO poisoning. Learn what happens when you breathe in carbon monoxide emissions and how to lower your risk of exposure this winter.
Often known as the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide is lethal because it keeps the body from consuming oxygen correctly. CO molecules uproot oxygen in the blood, depriving the heart, brain, lungs and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overwhelm your system in minutes, leading to loss of consciousness and suffocation. Without immediate care, brain damage or death can occur.
Carbon monoxide poisoning can also happen slowly if the concentration is comparatively low. The most prevalent signs of CO inhalation include:
As these symptoms resemble the flu, many people won’t find out they have carbon monoxide poisoning until moderate symptoms advance to organ damage. Watch out for symptoms that subside when you leave home, suggesting the source may be somewhere inside.
While CO inhalation is intimidating, it’s also entirely avoidable. Here are the ideal ways to protect your family from carbon monoxide exposure.
If you ever operate combustion appliances in or near your home, you should add carbon monoxide detectors to notify you of CO leaks. These detectors can be hardwired, battery-operated or plugged into an outlet based on the style. Here’s how to take full advantage of your carbon monoxide detectors:
Multiple appliances, including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces and clothes dryers, can release carbon monoxide if the system is installed incorrectly or not working as it should. A once-a-year maintenance visit is the only way to know for sure if an appliance is faulty before a leak develops.
A precision tune-up from Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing consists of the following:
If your gas furnace, boiler or water heater has sprung a CO leak, or you want to thwart leaks before they happen, Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. Our HVAC and plumbing maintenance and repair services help provide a safe, warm home all year-round. Call your local Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing office for more info about carbon monoxide safety or to request heating services.
By Brian Sodoma, for Service Experts With autumn around the corner, homeowners will soon be getting ready for the cold months ahead. Cold weather adds even more demand on your heating system. To prepare your heating system for the heavy work it will need to do, regular HVAC maintenance should be... Continue reading
When you think of ultraviolet light, you might imagine getting sunburned after a long day at the pool. And yet, UV light is also something you can use for increasing indoor air quality. Sunscreen protects against UVA and UVB rays, but UVC is the form of light found in air purification. If you... Continue reading
Indoor allergens affect millions of people in the U.S. each year. It’s common for many to look outside the home for potential allergens triggering sniffles, watery eyes, respiratory problems and even asthma flare-ups. But many are surprised to learn that indoor dust mites, molds, animal dander... Continue reading
© 2023 Service Experts, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, and the Service Experts logo and design are registered trademarks of Service Experts LLC and used under license by SE Canada Inc. All Rights Reserved. *Not applicable to the Advantage Program. See your signed Advantage Program Agreement for full details and exclusions. 100% Satisfaction Guarantee is subject to certain restrictions and limitations as set forth in the applicable Terms and Conditions.