Knowing how to prevent carbon monoxide exposure could save you or your loved one’s life some day. This know-how is especially important in the Texas panhandle area, where the incorrect use of appliances during and after storms raises our exposure risks.
Carbon Monoxide: an Invisible Threat
When used incorrectly or when malfunctioning, gas furnaces, gas stoves, fireplaces, gasoline generators, barbeques, and other fuel-burning appliances can release carbon monoxide (CO) gas.
Because this gas has no color or odor, it’s impossible to sense without a CO detector. Early symptoms of exposure include a headache, dizziness, and fatigue. If you miss these or you’re asleep when they occur, you’re at high risk for loss of consciousness and eventual death.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure Easily
Install CO detectors — Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, within 10 feet of each bedroom, and near the door of your attached garage. Keep them at least 15 feet away from fuel-burning appliances. At least once a year, test the detector and change the batteries.
Keep your appliances in shape — Schedule timely professional HVAC inspections as well as inspections for your stove and other appliances. A hairline crack in your furnace’s heat exchanger or maladjustment in your gas stove can release enough CO to make you ill. Your fireplace, too, should be professionally cleaned. Leaves and other obstructions in the chimney or flue can cause CO to build up in your home.
Use your generator right — Never use an electric generator indoors or even outdoors near a window. Place your generator outdoors away from your home. It should sit on a dry surface under a port or canopy that allows free airflow.
Take care with space heaters — Gas and other fuel-burning space heaters should be cleaned and professionally serviced annually. Use only those models that vent outdoors and carefully follow the installation instructions for ventilation.
For more tips on how to prevent carbon monoxide expose or for professional inspection of your HVAC equipment, contact us 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 carbon monoxide and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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