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The truth about carbon monoxide

December 30, 2018
Test of a smoke and fire alarm with carbon monoxide sensor capability

Tasteless, colorless, odorless, carbon monoxide (CO) is produced by almost every fuel-burning appliance, including furnaces, water heaters, fireplaces, grills and gas space heaters. When something goes wrong with the equipment or the venting, CO becomes one of America’s most deadly household hazards.

Here are some things every homeowner should know about CO and how to guard against it causing a tragedy in your home.

1) Headache, dizziness, nausea, weakness, sleepiness, and disorientation are all symptoms of CO poisoning, though a victim may not experience everyone. Unfortunately, these same symptoms are associated with flu, food poisoning, and other afflictions, leading to many misdiagnoses. A cherry red face is a possible sign of CO poisoning.

2) For healthy adults, CO becomes toxic when it reaches a level higher than 35 ppm (parts per million) with continuous exposure over an 8-hour period. This is the maximum exposure tolerated by OSHA.

3) If anyone in your home is experiencing signs of CO poisoning symptoms, vacate the home immediately and notify your local fire or police department. Don’t just open doors and windows because that makes it hard for authorities to determine whether there is a CO problem when they inspect the home.

4) The best place to install CO detectors is outside of bedrooms where family members sleep. The greatest danger from CO occurs when people are asleep and unable to detect any of the symptoms. Installing a detector near a furnace, water heater, or other CO-emitting appliance will likely result in many false alarms.

5) Broken or blocked vents and flues are probably the most common cause of CO buildup. If you see any holes or disconnections or rust stains indicating corrosion, call us immediately. Be sure to put a guard on top of rooftop vents to prevent birds’ nests or other debris from falling into the chimney and blocking the escape of harmful gases.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, Carbon monoxide kills an average of 374 people each year. Nobody thinks about carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes until it’s too late. A carbon monoxide detector could be the peace of mind you need. Make sure you invest in the right one! Some of the cheaper models don’t detect lower amounts of carbon monoxide which could affect your health or your life.

Ask the Comfort Certified Experts at Western Heating & Air Conditioning about the carbon monoxide detectors we recommend, and even install in our own homes. Call 801-224-8899 or visit www.TimeForComfort.com today.

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