Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Tips & Suggestions
Carbon monoxide, a gas produced during incomplete combustion of fuels, is an invisible, tasteless, and odorless threat to people’s health and safety. Though commonly associated with vehicle emissions and fires, carbon monoxide dangers and poisoning can accumulate in any home unless homeowners take certain precautions. It is deadly because it interferes with normal intake of oxygen for humans and other living organisms that need oxygen to live. America’s Best Mechanical & Electrical would like to share the symptoms, facts and ways to improve your safety against carbon monoxide poisoning!
Tightness of chest
-Loss of muscle control
-Vision changes or difficulty seeing
-Redness of skin
Each year, close to 30,000 people in the U.S. suffer an accidental carbon monoxide poisoning, and about 500 of them die. In fact, most of them die in their own home. Without the help of a carbon monoxide detector, humans cannot detect this dangerous gas. According to findings of a study by the Journal of the American Medical Association released in 2013, CO easily passes through drywall. This porous building material used to finish ceilings and walls cannot stop the gas from seeping through.
While 25 states require residents to install a CO alarm in their homes, 10 states exempted residents without an internal CO–producing source, such as a fireplace, gas stove, or an attached garage, from installing an alarm. This move worries experts who fear that it may give people a false sense of security. Exempting certain people from having such alarms might lead to an increase in the number of accidental poisonings, especially in multi–unit buildings.
Still, relying on people voluntarily installing carbon monoxide alarms with a battery back up is not working. Shockingly, according to the CDC, only 30 percent of American homes have functioning CO alarms. Therefore, homeowners should take steps to prevent CO poisoning. These include keeping all appliances in good working order, installing working CO alarms, never using outdoor appliances indoors, and never leaving a car idle in the garage. Just a few short weeks ago, a man was fatally poisoned in his home in Baldwin Borough, PA while his daughter was treated for CO poisoning following his death.
- Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall.
- Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
- If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
- When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
- Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
- Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
- Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
Unsure if your home has the proper carbon monoxide protection? Give us a call at (215)442-7423 or contact us online to learn more from a professional. Your safety and comfort are always our main concerns here at America’s Best Mechanical & Electrical!