What is carbon monoxide and why should you be concerned about it in your home? Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colorless, odorless and tasteless gas produced by burning fuel, such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal or wood. When fuel-burning equipment, tools and appliances are used in enclosed places, or places without good ventilation, CO levels can build up quickly.
Symptoms of CO poisoning are sometimes hard to recognize because they are similar to the flu (but without the fever). They include:
- Tightness across the chest
- Shortness of breath
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of consciousness
CO poisoning can be reversed if caught in time. But even if you recover, CO poisoning may result in permanent damage to the parts of your body that require a lot of oxygen, such as the heart and brain.
Your home appliances need to be vented properly in order to avoid CO build up. If they are not vented properly, you could be putting the members of your family and yourself at risk. Even your pets can succumb to CO build up in your home. Some of the items you might have in your home that put out CO may include:
- Clothes dryers
- Water heaters
- Furnaces or boilers
- Fireplaces, both gas and wood burning
- Gas stoves and ovens
- Motor vehicles
- Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
- Wood stoves
- Tobacco smoke
So what should you do to protect your family from CO poisoning?
- Properly vent and maintain fuel-burning appliances
- Know the symptoms of CO poisoning
- Install and maintain CO alarms in your home
The typical lifespan of a CO alarm is between 5 and 7 years, but it varies by manufacturer. Consult the product packaging or manufacturer for a recommended replacement date.
Don’t ignore a CO alarm if it is sounding. If people in the home are exhibiting symptoms of CO poisoning, immediately leave the building and call your local fire department. In cases where residents are feeling fine, call your local gas utility company or a qualified technician to help identify the cause of the problem.
If you don’t have a CO alarm installed, you need to have one or several installed right away. Don’t wait, call Peter Needham Electrical today and have Peter and his crew install a CO alarm.