Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can make people very sick and even cause death. Carbon monoxide exposure is one of the leading causes of death due to poisoning in the U.S. However, death due to carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable. Below, we’ll tell you what you need to know about carbon monoxide and how to prevent exposure in your home.
Facts About Carbon Monoxide
Burning fossil fuels like gas, coal, and wood produce carbon monoxide in the air. CO can be present in both indoor and outdoor air. The CO found in indoor air often originates from appliances that use fossil fuels. When fuel-burning appliances are malfunctioning or misused, they can cause CO poisoning in the home. The lack of proper ventilation can also cause CO build-up, which can lead to CO poisoning.
Since this deadly gas cannot be detected by sight, smell, or taste, it’s often difficult to know when CO has built up in your home. That’s why it is important for homeowners to take specific measures to prevent the buildup of CO in the home. We’ll talk more about these measures later, but first, let’s discuss carbon monoxide poisoning.
What is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide prevents your body from getting the oxygen that it needs. When you breathe in CO, it attaches to your hemoglobin, which carries oxygen in your blood. The more CO that you breathe in, the less oxygen that will be carried throughout your body. The lack of oxygen causes some serious symptoms. Here are just a few of the symptoms of carbon monoxide positioning:
- Headaches and dizziness
- Shortness of breath
- Tightening of the chest
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Loss of muscle control
- Delayed reaction time
Many of these symptoms are commonly mistaken for signs of the flu. However, carbon monoxide poisoning can cause serious impairment and even death. If more than one of your family members is sick or those who feel sick tend to feel better when away from the home for a period of time, this may be the result of carbon monoxide poisoning.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
One of the best ways to prevent carbon monoxide from escaping into your home is by keeping your heating system, fireplace, chimney, and any other heat sources well-maintained. Make sure that you have proper ventilation and that all of your appliances are in working order. We recommend routine furnace maintenance each year to ensure that your system is working properly and efficiently.
Another important step that you can take to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home is to install battery-powered CO alarms throughout your house. These will help alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your home, which allows you to take the necessary measures immediately before you or a family member gets ill. Just remember to check your CO alarms twice a year to make sure that the alarm and the batteries are working properly.
If you suspect that your furnace may not be working properly, it’s best to call and HVAC technician right away to ensure that your system is not releasing CO into your home. Call us now for furnace repair or maintenance: (317) 759-5562.