The Carbon Monoxide Guide: What You Need to Know about CO
You can’t see it or smell it, but it can kill you in a matter of minutes. Carbon monoxide (CO) is responsible for numerous preventable deaths each year, especially during colder months. 1st Choice Inspection Services feels very strongly that everyone should know the facts about carbon monoxide poisoning, how to detect CO, and how to keep themselves and their families safe from this deadly home hazard.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas that occurs naturally in our atmosphere. In its natural, extremely diluted state, carbon monoxide is harmless to humans. The danger comes when CO builds up into higher concentrations. Too much carbon monoxide can lead to dizziness, loss of consciousness, and even death within one to three minutes.
Carbon Monoxide Sources in the Home
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of burning various forms of fuel. It is produced whenever a material burns, whether that material is wood, charcoal or natural gas. Homes that use fuel-burning appliances or have attached garages are more likely to have CO problems.
Some of the most common sources of CO in the home include:
- Water Heaters
- Furnaces or Boilers
- Gas Stoves and Ovens
- Charcoal Grills
- Wood-burning Stoves
Learn to Recognize CO Poisoning
It is crucial to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to keep yourself and your family safe at home. Most of the early symptoms are vague and easy to ignore, such as mild dizziness and breathlessness with very little exertion. These give way to more dangerous flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, fatigue and nausea.
If the symptomatic person remains in contact with the CO, they will become increasingly clumsy, irritable and confused until they lose consciousness. Death could follow shortly.
There are a few ways to differentiate low-level carbon monoxide poisoning from the flu. If your whole household is ill at the same time, or your pets are ill as well, you should be suspicious. If you feel better when you’re away from home, this is another clue. Also, the flu causes body aches, fever and sore throat, none of which are symptoms of CO poisoning.
Practice CO Safety
First, always make sure your fuel-burning appliances have adequate ventilation. This means keeping them clean and maintained so that the CO can be vented into the outdoors. Have a professional do an annual checkup on your appliances to make sure they aren’t causing a CO problem.
If something is intended for outdoor use, such as a grill or camp stove, never light it inside or use it to heat your home. By doing so, you risk starting a fire and polluting your air with dangerous CO. Also avoid running your vehicle inside a closed garage, and make sure nothing is blocking the exhaust pipe.
Most importantly, install CO monitors in your home and keep them properly maintained. They could be the only thing that stands between your family’s safety and a tragic incident.1st Choice is always happy to answer any questions you have about carbon monoxide detectors. We will also provide installation, inspection and maintenance services so that you and your family can have peace of mind.
Call 1st Choice Inspection Services to Keep Your Home Safe
Carbon monoxide is a silent killer, but there are steps you can take to prevent it from building up in your home. Call 1st Choice Inspection Services today to ensure that all the safety systems in your home are working properly. We take care of the inspections and maintenance so you can sleep easy at night.