Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that’s produced whenever fossil fuels burn. This deadly combustion byproduct is known as the silent killer, and it’s responsible for thousands of emergency room visits and more than 200 deaths every year in the United States. If your home has a gas-fired furnace, kitchen range, clothes dryer or water heater, you’re at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Other devices that produce lethal CO are charcoal grills, propane barbeques, portable generators, gas-powered yard equipment and vehicles.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause different symptoms depending on the amount of gas that’s in the air and the length of exposure:
- Breathing in low or moderate amounts of carbon monoxide over time can cause flu-like symptoms including headaches, nausea, weakness, fatigue, dizziness, chest pain and shortness of breath.
- Inhaling a large amount of CO suddenly can result in severe symptoms that progress rapidly. Vomiting, a loss of muscle control and mental confusion are quickly followed by a loss of consciousness and death.
How to Reduce CO Exposure
Taking steps to reduce CO exposure can help safeguard everyone in your household from this deadly-serious health risk.
- Schedule yearly professional service for all fuel-burning appliances and heating equipment, and have the venting system or flue inspected as well.
- Never use a charcoal grill or propane barbeque indoors or in an attached garage.
- Make sure that all fuel-burning appliances are properly vented to the outdoors.
- When using a portable generator, move it outdoors. Never operate it inside the home or attached garage, or near windows and doors, to prevent fumes from entering the living space.
- Invest in at least one CO detector, or replace an existing smoke detector with a combination device, and install it near the home’s sleeping area. If it’s a plug-in model, make certain it has a battery backup, and check and/or replace the battery regularly.
- Never leave a vehicle or gas-powered equipment running inside an attached garage.
For more information on how to reduce CO exposure in your Amarillo area home, contact us today at Amarillo Air Conditioning.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO exposure and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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