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Carbon Monoxide Awareness

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By : Rob Thomson    99 or more times read
What with the cold weather upon us, many of us begin using additional heat sources. Not only has the furnace been fired up, but we may have added portable kerosene or propane heaters in our garage, or wood stoves in the family room. With these new heat sources come additional precautions and safety concerns.

The potential for carbon monoxide poisoning is a deadly hazard that can impact anyone. Your best defense is an understanding of the risks and how to minimize them.

What exactly is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

This invisible gas has no scent or taste. Upon inhaling, it quickly travels via your bloodstream to the heart and brain, displacing any oxygen. Unfortunately the symptoms of low level exposure simply resemble the flu, and the problem is not always attributed to carbon monoxide poisoning. Common side effects include lethargy, dizziness, headaches, irritability, confusion, and nausea.

How is it produced?

Carbon monoxide is produced from the incomplete burning of a fossil fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal, kerosene, oil, or petroleum. Generally this process produces carbon dioxide, but if a lack of sufficient oxygen is available during burning, carbon monoxide results.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Common sources of carbon monoxide in our homes include furnaces, wood stoves or other heating systems. Ranges, dryers, water heaters, and fireplaces. Outside, consider charcoal BBQ's, any gas powered tool, such as lawn mower, generator, weed trimmer or rototiller. A car left running in a closed garage can leak carbon monoxide into the house through a partially open or poorly sealed door.

What to Look For?

Production of carbon monoxide can result from a fuel burning appliance or tool being used in a confined space without adequate ventilation, poorly maintained, or improperly adjusted burners or heating systems. Take one such appliance that is not combusting properly because of a lack of maintenance, run it in a tightly sealed house or enclosed space and you have the perfect recipe for creating high levels of carbon monoxide.

Minimizing the Risk

All systems that burn fuel and their venting systems should be inspected by a professional once a year, even if they are in good working order. Potential problems can be identified before they occur, and regular cleaning and maintenance can prevent them from happening at all, as well as extending the life of your appliance.

CO alarms should be tested on a regular basis, and batteries changed at least once a year. A good reminder, is to test the alarms whenever you set your clocks ahead or behind.

Ensure that you have a CO alarm if you have any fuel burning stove, appliance, fireplace or even an attached garage. Consider locating units close to bedrooms with additional alarms as required. CO alarms wear out too; if you have an older unit it may need to be replaced.

What happens if the alarm goes off?

Upon hearing your CO alarm, turn off all fuel burning systems or appliances and open the windows and doors. Keep in mind that the source of the gas, may be coming from outside of your house. Reset the alarm and call a technician to look for the source of the carbon monoxide.

If anyone is sick as a result of CO exposure, get them out of the house and note their symptoms. Call 911, explain the problem, the number of people ill, and their symptoms. No one should re-enter the house until the source of the CO is eliminated.
Visit for everything to do with Admirals Cove Jupiter. You'll find information about a range of issues and properties in this beautiful area, including Homes For Sale in the Admirals Cove Golf Village.

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