Well it sure is getting cold and wet outside which means that heating season is here to stay for a while. One item that we do not like to hear about during our winter months is “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning”, yikes!
Did you know that carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States? This odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas is known as the “Silent Killer.” The Centers for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning claims nearly 500 lives annually. Unfortunately here in Kansas City we will hear about a few cases of CO poisoning via our local news channels. In my opinion the news should be covering how to prevent CO poisoning from happening rather than wait for the big “Crisis Moment” to report on it. Many of the deaths can be eliminated by knowing what to look for in the early stages of the poisoning (we have actually saved a few lives here at Envirotech Heating and Cooling by educating our customers on the symptoms). The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headaches, nausea, and fatigue and are often mistaken for the flu because the deadly gas goes undetected in a home.
Even though the furnace (that heats your home) can be a main cause of poisoning, it is not the only item in which this danger can exist. Carbon Monoxide is caused by incomplete combustion of fuel, so with that in mind anything that burns fuel from a match, vehicle, stove, furnace, snow blower and so on has the ability to produce dangerous CO. One of the best pieces of protection is to install a good carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home, the detectors are generally good for 5yrs and then they need to be replaced. If your CO detector alarms you should immediately evacuate the house and contact the fire department. In addition we recommend that you have your home heating system cleaned and tested annually by a qualified technician. A few more common causes of poisoning are: allowing your vehicle to run or warm-up in the garage (even with the door open), burning charcoal inside your house (even in the fireplace), operating a gasoline-powered generator in confined areas such as garages or basements and working on any gas tool (snow blower or lawnmower) in a confined area.
Thanks for reading and please share this with as many of your friends and family as you wish. If you need more information on CO poisoning, symptoms and prevention please visit www.epa.gov.
President, Envirotech Heating & Cooling, Shawnee Kansas.