Though not something most homeowners think about on a daily basis, carbon monoxide detection is serious. You could be at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning if you own an oil or gas heater, water heater or stove – even if you keep your car parked in a garage!
Carbon Monoxide Basics
Carbon monoxide, known as “the silent killer,” is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas and can be deadly if not detected early! In fact, this gas kills thousands of people each year. Carbon monoxide poisoning affects everyone, but it is much worse for children, the elderly and anyone with heart or breathing problems.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Unfortunately, there are a number of things that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, and these include:
- Improper or incomplete burning of natural gas or carbon based fuels (gasoline, coal, kerosene, etc.)
- Tobacco smoke
- Exhaust from your car
- Unvented (or improperly vented) heaters and furnaces
- Malfunctioning central heating systems
- Malfunctioning fuel burning devices (such as space heaters)
- Blockages that cause improper ventilation in enclosed spaces where fuel is burning (such as kitchens)
These sources are present in both homes and work environments – there’s no way to avoid them. Fortunately, there ARE simple ways to protect yourself!
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The absolute best thing you can possibly do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is install a low level carbon monoxide detector. But it doesn’t end there – there are many things you can do to keep your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning at a minimum:
- Get your fuel burning appliances (fireplaces, furnaces, ovens, etc.) checked regularly by trained professionals
- Don’t leave the car engine running when the car is still in the garage
- Make sure your HVAC closet is well vented
- Never cover the bottom of a natural gas or propone oven with aluminum foil
Remember, even if you take all these precautions, there’s no substitute for having a working carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t have one, we highly recommend installing one as soon as possible.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning carries flu-like symptoms, including:
- Fatigue and drowsiness
- Nausea and vomiting
- Muscle weakness
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
Keep in mind that symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can vary from person to person, but these symptoms are common in most people. Long-term exposure to carbon monoxide can result in death, so it’s important to take preventive measurements seriously. If you’re experiencing one or more of these symptoms and you think you may have carbon monoxide poisoning, get out of the house and call 911 right away!
Carbon Monoxide Testing in Maryland
If you need CO testing in Maryland, Comfortable Home Energy Audits can help. During our audit, we use a carbon monoxide detection tool to determine if there’s any CO in your home. This tool uses a visible and audible signal to reveal any carbon monoxide in the environment.
Make sure your carbon monoxide detectors are working and if you think you may be at risk, don’ wait to act on it. Contact us for more information on carbon monoxide detection today!