As winter sets in, it is always a good time to be aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. In fact, since the late 2000s, November has been recognized by many states as Carbon Monoxide Awareness Month. This designation is intended to help people recognize that the threat of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning increases during the winter months, when alternative heating solutions or faulty HVAC systems can potentially produce deadly CO levels. Masters Heating & Cooling Inc. wants our customers to remain safe and healthy during the cold winter days ahead, so we want to talk about CO Awareness and how you can make sure this deadly gas is not threatening your family.
CARBON MONOXIDE=DEADLY INDOOR AIR QUALITY
CO is produced when fuels are improperly or incompletely combusted. It flies underneath the radar of our senses because it has no odor, color or taste. This makes it impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide alarm. Left undetected, carbon monoxide levels in homes can reach levels that produce sickness and even death. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control estimates more than 400 people die each year in the U.S. from CO poisoning and tens of thousands more require medical attention from it. Here are some common sources of unintentional CO poisoning:
- Water heaters
- Clothes dryers
- Motor vehicles
- Grills & generators
CO POISONING PREVENTION
The following are some good basic safety practices to help protect your family from CO poisoning:
- Inspect/maintain fuel-burning appliances. Schedule regular maintenance by a licensed professional for your water heater, furnace and other gas or coal-burning appliances. Have fireplaces and chimneys inspected and cleaned annually and remain vigilant for signs of a CO issue:
- Orange or yellow flame in appliances such as the water heater or furnace. The flame should be blue.
- Lack of upward draft in chimney or a buildup of fallen soot in your fireplace.
- Rusted appliance vents.
In addition, you should never use appliances designated for outdoor use inside your home. This includes grills, portable generators or lawn equipment. Never leave a car running in the garage.
- Know and recognize CO poisoning symptoms. CO poisoning symptoms can be mistaken for the flu, so sometimes they can be misdiagnosed or ignored. Symptoms include headache, dizziness, fatigue and nausea and may escalate to disorientation, loss of coordination and consciousness. Some good ways to distinguish CO poisoning from flu symptoms may be feeling better when away from home, indoor pets appear sluggish, and lack of fever or body aches (common flu/cold symptoms). If you suspect CO poisoning, leave the home immediately and seek medical attention.
- Install CO detectors. These should be placed in high-traffic areas or near appliances and can be mounted near smoke detectors. They should be inspected and maintained similarly to smoke detectors.
CALL MASTERS TODAY
Our customers’ health and safety is of paramount concern to us, so call us today for an indoor air quality service call. We will make sure the CO levels are safe in your home and that all fuel burning appliances are operating properly. Our many locations, including Fort Wayne, Decatur, Angola, Indianapolis, Greenwood, and Mishawaka, IN, will ensure we respond to your call quickly… Masters gets there faster!