Carbon monoxide (CO) is considered the “silent killer” because it is impossible to see, taste, or smell the toxic fumes, and it can kill you before you are even aware it is in your home.
At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu (e.g., nausea, vomiting, headache, and stomach pains). At higher levels of exposure, the effects can be fatal.
To protect both yourself and your loved ones from the risk of experiencing CO poisoning within your home, utilize the following precautions.
- Check your appliances to ensure that the flame color is blue. If it is orange, contact the fire department immediately.
- Have a professional do a safety inspection annually on all of your appliances, as well as your chimney and grill, to make sure they are in safe working order.
- Operate grills outside of your home and garage.
- Do not leave your car running in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
- Never rely on ranges, ovens, gas grills or clothes dryers to heat your home.
- Never operate fuel-burning items, such as space heaters and lawnmowers, in closed rooms.
- If you or other family members are feeling ill frequently at home, leave for several hours to see if your symptoms go away. If so, you may all be suffering from CO poisoning.
The Importance of Installing a CO Detector
CO is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid, or gaseous fuels from household items such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters, and fireplaces. If these items are used or installed improperly, dangerous levels of CO can escape into the air and cause illness. That’s why it’s crucial to have a CO detection system within your home.
In addition to a smoke detector, install a CO detector on every level of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and place each detector away from furniture and curtains to get accurate detection results.
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