29 Aug What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide Safety
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve long known about the importance of installing a smoke detector. Yet in recent years, experts have started to suggest installing a second type of alert device.
The latter is used warn people of a carbon monoxide gas leak.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that’s extremely dangerous. Sometimes called a “silent killer,” is impossible to detect unless you own a detection device. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, shortness of breath, nausea, fatigue and headaches. In severe cases symptoms may include confusion, vomiting, unconsciousness and in some cases, death.
CO gas can enter a home in several different ways, although most leaks spring from furnaces and chimneys. If you try to service your furnace yourself, and you’re not an experienced HVAC technician, you could inadvertently cause a leak.
One person we spoke with said this is exactly what happened to his college-age daughter. Her property manager was hoping to save money on furnace repair, so he asked his handyman to give the system a once over. The handyman did something that caused a leak, and within days, his daughter and her roommate began feeling nauseous and light-headed.
How a carbon monoxide detector can help
Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased online and at most big-box retailers. Although some models are battery operated, experts recommend purchasing a model that’s battery operated and can be plugged into a wall outlet. If the power goes out, the batteries will serve as a backup. This will ensure that your home is protected regardless as to whether you have electricity.
If the alarm begins to sound, this is an indicator that you have a leak. The best solution is to open the nearest windows and/or doors to air out your home, and from there, you should step outside and call for help.
If you or anyone in your family is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, you’ll want to call 911 to seek medical attention. You’ll also want to call the non-emergency number for the fire department and/or the local gas and electric company. In some places, the fire department will be charged with responding, whereas in others, the gas company will send someone out.
The best way to protect yourself from CO poisoning is by installing a detection device. Make sure you check it every 6 months to make sure it’s working and be sure to keep backup batteries on hand.