Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

January 27, 2015

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a dangerous gas that can build up during the operation of fuel burning devices. Carbon monoxide poisoning is often associated with malfunctioning furnaces, but there are other ways a person may accidentally succumb to it. Since CO is tasteless, invisible and odorless, it is important to know how to avoid putting yourself at risk for CO poisoning.

Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Install CO detectors on every floor of your home. Some detectors should be placed close enough to bedrooms that the alarm will waken sleeping occupants. Like smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors should be tested monthly and the batteries changed when necessary.

Have Fuel-Burning Appliances Inspected Regularly

Have your furnace inspected at least annually, as well as gas stoves, gas clothes dryers and any other appliance that burns fuel to function.

Take Precautions When Running Vehicles or Fuel-Burning Devices 

Never leave a vehicle, fuel-burning tool or generator running in a closed or semi-enclosed area. An open garage door or window is often inefficient for venting a buildup of CO. Even if no one is in the garage, you can still be at risk as this invisible gas can enter the home through gaps and ductwork. It is always best to practice extra caution since CO poisoning can be fatal.

Know the Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Early signs of CO poisoning include dizziness, faintness, headache or nausea. Unfortunately, these symptoms are similar to many other illnesses and sometimes go ignored. If there is any reason to suspect CO poisoning, do not second-guess it and get everyone outdoors into fresh air immediately until CO levels are checked in the home and determined to be safe.

Keep Fireplaces and Wood Stoves Properly Cleaned and Maintained 

All wood burning features should be functioning properly and have adequate ventilation for healthy indoor air quality. Have a licensed contractor check for blocked chimneys and vents or other issues, which could result in improper ventilation of toxic gasses. For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and your Des Moines home, please contact us at Lozier Heating and Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "Curioso/Shutterstock"