A Life-Saving Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

carbon monoxide poisoningCarbon monoxide poisoning causes almost 450 deaths in an average year in the U.S. At least 20,000 individuals annually require emergency treatment and/or hospitalization due to only brief exposure to carbon monoxide (CO).  Because initial physical symptoms of inhaling this colorless, odorless gas — simple fatigue, dizziness, nausea — often mimic other common illnesses, individuals poisoned by CO often have no idea what is happening to them.

A byproduct of combustion, carbon monoxide is produced by such common home sources as a natural gas-fired furnace or stove, an automobile, or other internal-combustion engine … even a wood fire in the home’s fireplace. Under certain  circumstances, CO gas can exceed safe levels inside a home. The difference between carbon monoxide levels that cause illness and the amount that proves fatal can be very small.

To reduce the potential for carbon monoxide poisoning in your home, take these preventive steps:

  • If your house doesn’t have carbon monoxide detectors, install them immediately. Place one detector on each level of the house, including the basement, plus one detector outside each sleeping area.
  • Test detectors monthly for proper function by pressing the “Test” button on the unit.
  • Change batteries in all detectors twice a year. Because CO detectors have a finite life-span, replace the units per manufacturer’s instructions; typically every five to seven years.
  • Schedule annual furnace inspections by a qualified HVAC service technician. In addition to maintenance procedures, the annual checkup includes a combustion-efficiency test to identify excessive amounts of carbon monoxide present in furnace exhaust, as well as an inspection to verify that gases are safely vented to the exterior of the house.
  • Also have other potential CO sources inspected for safe operation, including the gas water heater, the kitchen stove, and the fireplace.
  • Never run a vehicle or other internal-combustion engine — lawn mower, generator, etc — inside the home’s garage with the garage door closed.
  • If a CO detector’s alarm sounds, get everyone out of the house right away, then call for emergency responders.

Making home safety a priority since 1922, Paitson Bros. is ready with more information about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning.

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    Jeff Paitson Jeff Paitson is a third generation business owner who continues to run the business with the same values that have been passed down from previous generations since 1922.

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