Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as a “silent killer.” It’s odorless, invisible state makes it nearly impossible to detect and it acts quickly once in the body, replacing oxygen in the blood. Enough carbon monoxide in the air can kill a person within minutes, making it one of the most dangerous substances to enter your home. Typically we aren’t aware of how common carbon monoxide is and where it comes from.
There are an array of appliances and gas-powered equipment found in the home that produce carbon monoxide, and without proper care or installation, these devices can emit enough of the deadly gas to cause serious consequences. One of the greatest risks is leaving a car running in an attached garage, especially with the door closed. This can harbor enough carbon monoxide to cause headaches, dizziness, and even death. Another thing to remember is to never use propane or charcoal grills or hibachis indoors. Burning charcoal produces carbon monoxide and without ventilation, gas can build up quickly, permeating the air.
But what about the appliances we have to use, like furnaces, water heaters, and stoves? One of the biggest issues with carbon monoxide are the many necessities throughout the home that produce the toxic gas. And while most people wouldn’t want to get rid of these common household appliances, there are ways to monitor their use and carbon monoxide production, protecting your home, and becoming more aware of carbon monoxide emissions.
When having a water heater or furnace or dryer installed, make sure to test the device after installation to ensure it is working correctly and there aren’t any issues. Faulty installations can cause carbon monoxide to be produced in overdrive or can lead to leaks. Keep all gas-powered appliances cleaned as well so that you can monitor the buildup. Signs of a carbon monoxide problem can be seen in the residue or condition of theses appliances, such as soot build up, condensation on the insides of windows, or rust on pipes or jacks. Knowing what to look for can help you maintain a safer home atmosphere.
Beyond the home, carbon monoxide can be harmful outdoors in certain circumstances and habits. Camping equipment, such as fuel lanterns, charcoal grills, and portable generators produce an abundance of carbon monoxide and should never be left in a closed space, camper, or tent. Smoking cigars or cigarettes are great contributors to carbon monoxide pollution, among many other health issues.
Carbon monoxide poisoning comes on quickly so, if you or a loved one begin to experience flu-like symptoms rapidly, take action right away. Vacate the home at the first sign of headache or dizziness and, if symptoms are severe, such as vomiting, shortness of breath, or fainting, get to a hospital right away for treatment—it’s better to take more precautions and be safe.
Knowledge about what to look for and what causes carbon monoxide emissions is important, but it’s also integral to have a sensor installed in your home for proper carbon monoxide detection. Without one, it’s beyond difficult and dangerous to try and detect the invisible gas. Monitors are an easy way to keep you and your family safe and there are many different kinds you can get. From simple monitors that sound when high levels of carbon monoxide are detected in the air to more advanced options that digitally display levels of carbon monoxide so you can see the rising and falling of how much is in the air.
Make sure to talk with your security provider about your carbon monoxide monitoring system options and for more best practices for safe use of carbon monoxide-producing appliances and devices. The more you know, the less likely carbon monoxide poisoning is to occur to you or a loved one.