Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – The Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a silent killer and something you need to watch for in your home. Each year, over 30,000 people get sick, while 500 people are killed in their homes by carbon monoxide poisoning in the US alone. Here is what you need to do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
Check Your HVAC Vents for Proper Airflow
During the year, furniture will be moved in, out and around. Each time you do this, take a moment to make sure the vents are cleaned and clear of all obstruction.
Not only is a blocked vent, completely useless because heat can’t get in or out, they can also cause your energy expenses to go through the roof. Furthermore, this type of blockage can overheat your furnace, shortening its lifespan.
Make sure you check the supply registers, where the air comes out, and the return registers, where the air is drawn back in.
Do you close the vents in some rooms to cut back energy costs?
There’s good reason not to do this. Some of the problems that this practice can cause include:
– Inefficiency due to duct leakage
– Low airflow
– Cracked heat exchanges, which increases the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
– Condensation in colder months. The walls in these rooms can become affected by molds and mildews.
Install Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors and Alarms
A carbon monoxide detector functions a lot like your average smoke detector, with one major difference. Rather than detecting smoke and fire, they detect levels of carbon monoxide. You should have one of these installed in your home if you don’t already.
CO is odorless and invisible, but it is also highly toxic. It is a good idea to keep your home and all those who come and go therein safe from this serious threat.
Make sure you follow the directions of your CO Detectors when installing these devices. Alternatively, you can call in the professionals to have this service done in your home. Make sure you call in a HVAC professional if you have any other questions of doubts related to your CO detector
How to Test Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
According to the instructions included in your CO detectors, both alarms should be checked once a month. The National Fire Protection Association explains that when the carbon monoxide detectors are activated, the threat of CO in the home is high.
NFPA also mentions that:
“People in the home can be poisoned by small amounts of monoxide over a long period of time or a very high amount of CO in a short time.”
If you think that CO may be a problem in your home, it is important not to take any chances. Call the emergency services and have your home evacuated.
Schedule Regular Maintenance
It is very important that HVAC units, furnaces and all other types of heating systems are properly maintained and an important part of this is regular care and maintenance.
It is the fumes that come from these heaters, boilers and furnaces that can do all the harm. If not properly maintained these can cause life-threatening situations. A great preventative measure will be to have your heating source checked annually by a professional. They will also be able to highlight any potential problems that you should be on the lookout for.
Proper maintenance will also improve the longevity and fuel economy of your furnace. With proper maintenance regularly, you can expect your furnace to last as long as 20 years. If you notice any strange sounds, smells or irregularities in your furnace or HVAC system in the middle of winter, it is imperative to call in the professionals to establish that there is no threat of CO poisoning.
Replace Your Batteries Twice a Year
Keeping the power in your CO detectors is essential to having full confidence in their capacity. To make this easy on yourself, the best times to do this will be on the daylight savings time changes in the spring and fall.
Do Not Use Your Gas Oven to Heat Your Home
While it may seem like a smart alternative, it is never a good idea to heat the home with your gas oven. An overworked oven that is not being attended can cause an explosion. Ovens were simply not designed to be used in this way.
Furthermore, the CO is released by the flame and this will be diffused throughout the house.
Be Cautious of Space Heaters that Burn Fuel
Space heaters require constant attention to avoid becoming a serious problem. It is important to use these devices exactly as specified by the manufacturers.
Never forget that space heaters like this account for 1/3 of all fires started by home heating products and 80% of all deaths related to home heaters. Never forget to extinguish these devices before going out or going to bed.
Furthermore, use fuel-burning space heaters only in well-ventilated places. Any heater can be a potential fire hazard if not used properly.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat and is mostly caused by stoves, furnaces and HVAC systems that are not in proper order. The best way to avoid these problems is with regular care and maintenance. If simple care and maintenance are not regularly addressed, the result could be any level of carbon monoxide poisoning.