We all know carbon monoxide gas is dangerous and can even be deadly. What many of us don’t know is that not only is it colorless, it’s also odorless. So unlike other forms of gas, it’s impossible to detect on your own. In fact, carbon monoxide can kill before you even know it’s there.
When breathed in, carbon monoxide replaces oxygen in the blood, causing flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion and moodiness. As symptoms worsen, the victim of carbon monoxide poisoning will experience vomiting and loss of consciousness which can eventually lead to brain damage and even death.
So where does carbon monoxide come from? Wherever fuel is burned. That means gas or oil furnaces, gas refrigerators, gas clothes dryers, gas ranges, gas water heaters, fireplaces, charcoal grills and wood-burning stoves. Automobiles and lawnmower fumes also contain carbon monoxide and can enter your home through walls or doorways if an engine is left running in the garage.
If your home has good ventilation and your appliances don’t malfunction, carbon monoxide will usually vent to the outside of your home. But what many people don’t realize is that today’s energy-efficient homes are at the greatest risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. This is because they’re tightly constructed and sealed, which can trap carbon monoxide in the home all year long.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends installing at least one carbon monoxide detector per household near where you sleep. Obviously, additional detectors throughout the home offer maximum protection. The CPSC recommends servicing gas appliances annually.
The following is a checklist of things to look for to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, A professional should check for the following:
• Furnace connections to flue pipes and venting systems to outside of the home for signs of corrosion, rust, gaps, or holes.
• Furnace filters and filtering systems for dirt or blockages.
• Forced air fans for proper installation and correct air flow of flue gases.
• Combustion chamber and internal heat exchanger for cracks, metal fatigue or corrosion–be sure they are clean and free of debris.
• Burners and ignition system.
• All venting to the outside, including flues and chimneys.
• Remember that animals and birds can build nests in chimneys and prevent gas from escaping to the outside of the home.
• All other appliances using flammable fuels.
• Proper ventilation of space heaters.
For more information on checking your home’s furnace for carbon monoxide, call A#1 Air today at 1-800-NEW-HEAT.