Carbon Monoxide: A Safety Q&A For Your Home
Any appliance that burns fuel (propane, heating oil, natural gas, wood, etc.) also produces exhaust fumes, including carbon monoxide; under normal circumstances and with properly functioning equipment, these fumes are ventilated harmlessly to the outside air.
But sometimes poor ventilation or faulty equipment can cause carbon monoxide to build up inside your home, creating a hazard for your family.
Here are some carbon monoxide questions and answers to help you avoid complications related to carbon monoxide in your northern Westchester or southeastern Connecticut home.
What causes carbon monoxide(CO) build-up?
Some common causes of carbon monoxide build-up include:
- Equipment damage
- A poorly maintained heating system
- A blocked flue or vent
- A backdraft near the heating appliance
- Over-operation of unvented appliances
What is CO poisoning?
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a condition that can occur when people are exposed to unhealthy concentrations of CO in the air; children and the elderly are particularly susceptible to its effects.
What are the signs of CO poisoning?
Symptoms of CO poisoning worsen as exposure to the gas increases:
- Mild cases can cause flu-like symptoms (headaches, nausea, and dizziness)
- Moderate cases can cause severe headaches, breathlessness, and disorientation
- Extreme Cases can cause vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, and cardiac arrest
What should I do if someone in the house is symptomatic?
If someone in your home shows signs of CO poisoning:
- Leave the house and get fresh air immediately.
- Call 911 or your fire department (fire departments sometimes have a special number for CO emergencies – call yours to find out).
- Visit your doctor
- Have a professional inspect your equipment before you use it again.
What can I do to prevent CO poisoning?
Here are four things you can do to avoid carbon monoxide dangers:
- Install carbon monoxide alarms outside each sleeping area, on every level of the home. Replace the batteries at least once a year, and replace the unit every five years.
- Perform routine maintenance on any fuel-burning appliance every year
- NEVER use outdoor equipment, such as a portable generator or grill, inside the house.
- Learn and teach everyone in your home about the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning and what to do if they experience them.
At Penguin Energy your safety is always our #1 priority. If you have any questions or concerns about carbon monoxide safety, propane safety, or heating oil safety, just ask, We are happy to help!