Exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) is responsible for hundreds of deaths across the U.S. each year, and even more illnesses. Formed during the burning of fossil fuels, this potentially lethal colorless, odorless, invisible gas can cause a number of symptoms, many of which mimic the flu or food poisoning, making detection tricky and prevention a necessity.
Your circulatory system typically carries oxygen to the heart and brain, but exposure to carbon monoxide prevents this vital function from occurring, depriving your body of oxygen and causing any or all of the following symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
CO is produced each time fuel burns, though how much is dependent on the quality and efficiency of the burn; a well functioning, maintained burner will produce very little CO, while one that is malfunctioning may emit lethal quantities.
Garages, carports and leaky ductwork may also channel CO inside your home, as can any unvented combustion appliance, such as a portable space, or decorative heater.
Reduce or eliminate your exposure to carbon monoxide by following the tips below:
- Install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home, as close to sleeping quarters as possible.
- Never idle your car in your garage or carport.
- Never use your gas oven as a source of heat for your home.
- Do not ignore the symptoms of CO poisoning, especially if more than one member of your household is experiencing them.
- Schedule annual maintenance to ensure all your fuel burning appliances are in top working order.
- Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected at the beginning of heating season.
- Select appliances that vent their fumes to the outside.
- Regularly inspect your ductwork looking for cracks or breaks that may allow CO to enter your air space through your supply vents, and sealing them with duct mastic.
- Locate your gas or charcoal grill well away from your home, and keep doors and windows closed while grilling.
For more tips on how to reduce your exposure to carbon monoxide, call the experts at Wolff Mechanical, proudly serving homeowners in Central Arizona.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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