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A Lifesaver’s Guide to Carbon Monoxide Safety & Your Heating System

We learn as children that carbon monoxide is a dangerous, odorless gas that can lead to death. The seasonal switch from summer to fall heightens the risk of exposure to carbon monoxide, which may be activated when you turn your heating system. This is a great time of year for a fall furnace tune-up and reiterate the importance of carbon monoxide safety. The goal is to effectively to prevent leaks, which is a major source of carbon monoxide. Routinely inspecting the heating system in your home can help!

A Refresh on Carbon Monoxide

Before diving into the preventative measures, it’s crucial to have a solid understanding of what carbon monoxide (CO) is. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is highly toxic to humans and animals. When inhaled, it prevents the blood from carrying oxygen to cells, tissues, and vital organs. More than 100,000 people visit the ER each year with accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.

Why is Carbon Monoxide a ‘Silent Killer’?

Carbon monoxide is often called the “silent killer” because of its inability to be detected by human senses. It can leak from your heating system while going totally undetected. Before you know it, you are experiencing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.

What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Knowing the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can save your life. Watch out closely for the following signs:

Headache

  • Often described as dull, throbbing, or continuous

Dizziness

  • A sensation of spinning, tilting, or imbalance

Weakness

  • A generalized feeling of strength depletion or fatigue

Upset Stomach or Nausea

  • May also present as abdominal pain or vomiting

Vomiting

  • Can occur in conjunction with nausea

Confusion

  • Difficulty in thinking clearly, understanding, or remembering

Blurred Vision

  • Visual disturbance making it hard to focus

Shortness of Breath

  • Difficulty in breathing or feeling breathless

Chest Pain

  • Especially in people with heart conditions

Loss of Consciousness

  • In severe cases, can lead to a coma

Impaired Coordination

  • Difficulty in performing voluntary movements accurately

Flu-like Symptoms

  • Without the presence of a fever, can be mistaken for the flu

Important Note:

If you suspect someone is showing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately move the person to fresh air and seek emergency medical attention. This is crucial as prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to serious health complications, including death.

Where Does it Come from in Your Home?

Carbon monoxide can emanate from various household appliances, especially those that burn fossil fuels. Faulty furnaces, water heaters, and gas stoves are common culprits, making it essential to monitor and maintain these appliances regularly. This gas comes from heating sources in your home. For example, you won’t experience a carbon monoxide leak for your air conditioning unit.

Carbon Monoxide Safety: The Importance of Regular Heating System Maintenance

Now that you know the potential dangers of a carbon monoxide leak, let’s talk about preventative maintenance for your heating system. Regular inspection and maintenance of your heating system are pivotal in carbon monoxide safety. It ensures that all components are working efficiently and safely, reducing the risk of carbon monoxide leaks.

Begin with a Professional Inspection

Having a professional inspect your heating system annually before the winter season begins can uncover any potential issues or malfunctions, ensuring that your system operates safely and efficiently. This is important because a malfunctioning heating system can be dangerous, as it can release carbon monoxide into your home. It can also be expensive, as you may have to pay for repairs or even a new system if the problem is severe. Keep in mind that an inefficient heating system can also waste energy and money.

Routine inspecyions help you catch any problems early and avoid costly repairs or replacements. You can also save money on your energy bills by ensuring that your system is operating efficiently. Ask Area Sheet Metal how you can join our Discount Club, getting priority on heating system inspections at a lower cost.

Replace the Air Filter

Regular replacement of air filters is another critical maintenance task. A clogged filter can lead to incomplete combustion, causing carbon monoxide to form.Regular replacement of air filters is another critical maintenance task. A clogged filter can lead to incomplete combustion, causing carbon monoxide to form. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be deadly if inhaled. It is important to replace your air filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure that your furnace or air conditioner is working properly and that you are not breathing in harmful pollutants.

Additional benefits of air filter replacement include:

  • Improved indoor air quality
  • Reduced energy costs
  • Increased lifespan of your furnace or air conditioner
  • Reduced risk of allergies and asthma
  • Increased comfort in your home

Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

While routine maintenance of your heating system can save your life, so can carbon monoxide detectors. To bolster carbon monoxide safety in your home, installing carbon monoxide detectors is a non-negotiable step. These devices detect the presence of CO in your home and alert you before it reaches dangerous levels.

Place detectors near bedrooms and on every level of your home, including the basement. Ensure they are at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances to avoid false alarms.

Meanwhile, test the detectors monthly and replace the batteries at least twice a year. It is also advisable to replace the entire device every five to seven years, or according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Some carbon monoxide detectors, such as Nest, can also send alerts to your phone when CO is detected. If you are away from home, you will get an alert to take action.

Educating the Household

Knowledge is power when it comes to carbon monoxide safety. Educating all household members about the dangers of carbon monoxide and the steps to take in case of a leak is essential.

Recognizing Symptoms

Everyone in the household should be aware of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, including headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea, and confusion.

Emergency Procedures

In the event of a suspected leak, it’s crucial to evacuate the home immediately, call the emergency services, and seek medical attention.

Ask Area Sheet Metal to Inspect Your Heating System

As the winner of the 2023 HouseCall Pro SuperPro Award, homeowners just like you depend on us to inspect heating systems for potential carbon monoxide leaks. We’re a family-owned company with a lifetime workmanship guarantee! Keep the invisible enemy at bay and embrace the comfort and joy that the winter season brings.

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