Let’s talk about a very serious topic, Carbon Monoxide (CO). Carbon Monoxide is a odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas that can be deadly to humans and animals. Carbon Monoxide is a natural byproduct of combustion and one of the purposes of why things such as fireplaces, gas dryers, and furnaces have venting systems to get deadly gases out of the home. According to the CDC, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional Carbon Monoxide poisoning, 20,000 visit the emergency room, and over 4,000 are hospitalized. This a a staggering number that could be drastically reduced with the installation of Carbon Monoxide detectors in the home. Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning – Dizziness – Feeling weak – Headache – Upset stomach – Vomiting – Confusion – Chest pains Symptoms are often described as “flu-like” and sleeping or drunk individual are more likely to die from Carbon Monoxide poisoning without even feeling the symptoms. How can Carbon Monoxide poisoning be prevented? The CDC has several great recommendations that if followed, could save your life. Here are some tips (not all) for Carbon Monoxide prevention:
  • Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall. Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
  • Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
  • When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
  • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
  • Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
  • Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
  • Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
  • Never use a generator 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.
One of the easiest things you can do is purchase Carbon Monoxide detectors for your home and make sure that the batteries are changed with the time change and the entire detector is replaced once every five years.