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Beware of Carbon Monoxide

Monday, July 1, 2013

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless poisonous gas that can sometimes be released into the air from furnaces, car exhaust, fires and more. High levels of exposure to Carbon Monoxide or CO can resul in death. However, please do not be alarmed just yet and think that just because you have a furnace and car you will receive carbon monoxide poisoning. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it is more likely if your furnace is in disrepair i.e. leaky or other ways. This is a reason why it is important to have your furnace checked. Click here for a full list of carbon monoxide sources from the EPA.

Small amounts of carbon monoxide can produce feelings of nausea, dizziness, fatigue, headaches and disorientation. Unfortunately there are common symptoms for other health issues so you may not know that it is carbon monoxide affecting you. Usually these symptoms will clear up when you go outside. However, depending on the amount of carbon monoxide and the length of time you are in a room with it, symptoms could increase to the point of death.

The good news is that the EPA has provided a list of ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Never use a generator inside homes
  •  Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
  •  Consider purchasing a vented space heater when replacing an unvented one.
  •  Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
  •  Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
  •  Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
  •  Choose properly sized wood stoves that are certified to meet EPA emission standards. Make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly.
  • Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
  •  Do not idle the car inside garage.

Since you cannot see, touch, smell or even taste carbon monoxide, you can also purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home. This will alert you and your family if the amount of CO in your home reaches a certain point. They should be located on every floor of the house. It is best to purchase the kind that plugs into the wall with a battery back up so that it will still work even if the power goes out. Also, the life of a carbon monoxide detector is about FIVE years, so remember to replace them.
The majority of my information was from EPA: An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Carbon Monoxide (CO) so check out that site for my information.

Questions? Contact A.B. May for more information or to schedule a furnace inspection to be sure no CO is leaking into your home.

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