You probably know that carbon monoxide is dangerous. But do you know what causes a build-up of the potentially deadly gas in your home – or what to do if you or a family member experiences signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Here are some carbon monoxide basics to keep your family safe in your Long Island home.
- Carbon monoxide (sometimes referred to as “CO”, its chemical formula) is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when you burn any fuel, including propane, wood, coal, and heating oil. Over time, exposure to entrapped CO can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in illness, disorientation, or, in extreme cases, death.
- Carbon monoxide usually accumulates inside an enclosed space due to poor ventilation faulty equipment. A blocked vent or flue, a damaged or poorly maintained heating system, or overuse of an unvented heating appliance can all cause a dangerous CO build-up in your home.
- More than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms with symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
Symptoms of CO poisoning get worse as exposure to the gas increases. In cases of limited exposure, flu-like symptoms are common. Moderate exposure can lead to severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation, while high exposure can lead to unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and death.
What to do it you notice signs of CO poisoning
If you notice CO poisoning symptoms:
- Get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors, then leave the house
- Call 911
- Report your symptoms to your doctor
- Get a professional inspection for your appliances before using them again.
How to avoid CO dangers in your home
Here are six of the best ways to prevent CO dangers in your home:
- Service your heating equipment annually. An expert will spot issues before they pose risks to your family.
- Install CO detectors on every floor of your home. Replace batteries once a year and replace the detector itself every five years.
- Keep outdoor exhaust vents clear. Blocked exhaust vents can cause a dangerous buildup inside your home. Be sure to clear exhaust vents, flues, and other lines after all storms; use a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging your equipment.
- Keep an eye on your pets. If your pet seems sick or unusually slow to awaken, take him or her outside, check your CO detectors, and open windows.
- Avoid starting your vehicle indoors. Start your car with the garage door open, and never run it for more than a few minutes.
- Never use outdoor equipment indoors. Barbecue grills, portable generators, and outdoor space heaters are not equipped for indoor use; they don’t have the hardware to safely event.
Your safety is always our #1 priority – if you have any questions about carbon monoxide safety, contact us any time; if you think your heating equipment might not be working properly, contact us right away for professional maintenance or heating equipment repair.
Burt’s Reliable – serving our neighbors in the North Fork and East End of Long Island since 1917.