With the heating season upon us, it’s important to educate yourself with the dangers associated with carbon monoxide, or CO, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. When ingested in high concentrations, this gas can poison and even kill you or your loved ones. Sources of carbon monoxide can be large appliances, including your home’s furnace.
Carbon monoxide dangers
Carbon monoxide is an invisible threat to your family’s safety. Because it’s so hard to detect, it can unknowingly be released into your home and ingested in excessive quantities. This is especially dangerous when you are sleeping as carbon monoxide poisoning can occur without waking you. When awake, the first signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are often overlooked because they are similar to flu symptoms.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning will vary depending on the amount of exposure. Symptoms can vary from a headache and dizziness after mild exposure to unconsciousness, cardiorespiratory failure and even death after excessive exposure.
Preventing an HVAC carbon monoxide leak
- Always have your heating and cooling equipment installed by a professional. Oftentimes, carbon monoxide leaks are found in equipment that wasn’t installed properly or isn’t functioning properly.
- Invest in a high-quality HVAC system that is more likely to safely provide heat to your home. Be sure to quickly replace your system when it gets old and starts to break down.
- Keep up with regular HVAC maintenance. During a bi-annual maintenance appointment with an experienced technician, your system will be inspected for carbon monoxide leaks or potential leaks. Carbon monoxide levels will also be tested.
- Be sure that all air passages, including chimneys, vents and fireplaces, are cleaned and cleared regularly to prevent blockage.
- Ensure your home is equipped with functioning carbon monoxide detectors, especially close to where you and your loved ones sleep. Be sure they are tested regularly.
- If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak and especially if one of your detectors goes off, evacuate your home immediately. Be sure all of your family members and pets are out of the house but don’t stop to pack up your belongings. Call the fire department to inform them of the leak and call your doctor to determine if you need medical attention.
Use these quick tips to keep you and your family safe this winter and be sure to give Crown Group Ohio a call to set up a furnace inspection before the cold weather hits.
**Editor’s Note: This blog post is intended to provide helpful tips on HVAC safety. It is not to be substituted for emergency services or medical advice. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak, please dial 911 or your local emergency service number immediately.