Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colourless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by combustible appliances (appliances that use natural gas, oil, coal, charcoal, propane or wood). CO is found in the fumes produced by these appliances.
Carbon Monoxide poisoning (CO poisoning) occurs when there’s a buildup of CO in the air and you breathe too much in. CO builds up in the bloodstream which can cause tissue damage, permanent disability, or death.
Unlike smoke you can’t detect CO. When you breathe in CO it will feel like normal air. This is why CO is often times called The Silent Killer and this is why you need to take action to prevent CO from building up in your home
A carbon monoxide buildup may be due to a faulty appliance with poor ventilation, the more enclosed the space, the higher the risk. Follow this article to find out how at risk you are and how to prevent CO poisoning.
Am I at Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
If you have CO producing appliances inside your home, you are at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Appliances that produce CO are commonly used to heat our home, and cook our food among other tasks. All appliances that burn natural gas, charcoal, propane, wood, coal, and oil produce CO.
Have a look around your property, do you have any of these items?
- Clothes dryer
- Water heater
- Furnace or boiler
- Gas or wood burning fireplace
- Gas stove or oven
- Motor Vehicle (in your garage or enclosed area)
- Grill, generator, lawn equipment, power tools,
- Wood stove
- Gas or kerosene space heater
If so you could be at risk of CO poisoning and need to take measures to prevent a CO build up in your home.
All of the items listed above produce CO. Generally indoor CO-producing appliances have systems in place that vent the CO out of harm’s way, but sometimes these systems fail and It is our job to keep vigilant and take measures to ensure the CO levels do not rise to a dangerous level.
What Are The Symptoms of CO Poisoning?
A very important measure you can take to protect yourself and your family is to know the signs of CO poisoning. Here are some common symptoms below:
- Nausea/ Vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred Vision
- Loss of Consciousness
People often describe CO Poisoning symptoms as being “flu-like”. Breathing too much CO can lead to loss of consciousness or death. Individuals who are intoxicated or asleep are at a very high risk because they can die of CO poisoning before they experience any symptoms at all.
If you think you have carbon monoxide poisoning, seek fresh air and medical attention immediately.
What Can I Do to Prevent CO Poisoning?
Now that it’s winter, we are more likely to close our windows, and turn on our fuel-burning appliances. The risk is higher than ever during this time. Taking these steps to prevent CO poisoning could save you and your families lives.
- Regularly maintain any combustion/fuel-burning appliances. Get these appliances professionally inspected annually
- Be diligent of any imperfections in your appliances, look out for cracks, corrosion, blocked/dirty ventilation, leaks etc
- During power outages and emergency situations you may be tempted to use alternative heating and cooking methods. Make sure to use your camp stove, grills, and kerosene or propane heaters outdoors.
- Do not leave any motor vehicles and lawn equipment on and idle in enclosed areas such as garages (even if the door is open)
- Do not use a gas oven to heat your home
- Only use gas powered generators outdoors
- Do not burn anything in a stove or fireplace that is ot properly vented
- But most importantly…
You need a carbon monoxide detector. Because even the most up-to-date appliances can fail.
Like we said previously, carbon monoxide is the silent killer, you can’t detect it on your own. Having a device that can detect CO and inform you of any dangerous CO levels is life saving.
How do you ensure your carbon monoxide detector doesn’t fail? get it installed professionally and get it tested regularly.
Ensure you and your family are safe by taking the steps to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. At CBS Electric, we can install and test your carbon monoxide detectors professionally and safely, contact us and we will take it from there.