A cozy winter day can become dangerous if your gas-fired appliances are leaking carbon monoxide. Luckily, being a proactive homeowner can prevent a carbon monoxide emergency. In this month’s blog, the home comfort specialists at Main Stream Mechanical explain the dangers of carbon monoxide and offer recommendations to keep your family safe this winter season.
Carbon Monoxide Dangers
Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the “silent killer” because it can not be detected by any of your senses. This toxic gas forms when fuel is burned in gas-fired appliances, including stoves, chimneys, gas ranges and heating systems; and can build up without proper ventilation and fresh air intake. Today’s energy efficient, airtight homes can be particularly at risk for CO exposure.
Know the Symptoms
CO is harmful to humans and animals. Young children, seniors, and those with heart or lung problems are particularly vulnerable. Low levels of carbon monoxide poisoning can cause flu-like symptoms, including nausea, headaches, and shortness of breath. Moderate levels can cause dizziness and light-headedness. High levels of CO can be fatal within minutes of exposure.
If you experience these symptoms and suspect CO poisoning:
Evacuate your home, leaving any doors or windows open to increase ventilation.
Contact 911 immediately.
Stay outside until you’ve had a home comfort specialist survey the area.
Five Keys to Prevention
While it is unnerving to know your appliance and heating systems are capable of producing CO, there are simple precautions you can take to prevent a serious problem:
1. Install an alarm. Plug a carbon monoxide detector into outlets on every level of your home and test them monthly.
2. Inspect your ductwork. Make sure exhaust and air intakes are attached and properly sealed within your home. Remove snow and ice from exterior vents and air intakes.
3. Check your chimney. Schedule a chimney inspection and fireplace sweeping every year.
4. Leave grills and generators outside. Never bring portable generators or grills inside homes or garages, even if doors and windows are open.
5. Schedule an annual maintenance appointment. To keep your family safe, and avoid expensive repairs, schedule an annual maintenance appointment to inspect all fuel-burning appliances, furnaces, boilers, and vents.
Heating System Installation, Maintenance and Repair in NH and MA
A heating system check can greatly reduce the CO risk in your home. Contact our home comfort specialists for your appointment. Book before February 15, 2020, and receive a $10 discount. We serve many locations throughout Massachusetts and Southern New Hampshire, including Haverhill, Amesbury, Newburyport, Rowley, Topsfield, and Boxford.
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