In small doses, carbon monoxide is a normal part of the Earth’s regular ecosystem. In large quantities, however, it is a deadly, nearly undetectable killer.
The gas, which consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom per molecule, is tasteless, odorless, and totally colorless. Without the proper technology, it’s almost entirely invisible to the human senses. When introduced into a person’s bloodstream, it blocks red blood cells from delivering oxygen to the body. Carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to nausea, dizziness, fainting, and death.
To protect yourself and your loved ones from potential carbon monoxide poisoning, consider these tips.
1. Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors
It’s not enough to just own carbon monoxide detectors (something required by many state laws), it’s important to have enough of them and to keep them working properly. Install them on every floor with a preference towards bedrooms and other rooms where you and others may congregate.
Check the manufacturer’s advice to see how often you should replace the detector’s battery.
2. Understand Carbon Monoxide Risks
Carbon monoxide primarily comes from fuel-burning sources like fireplaces, furnaces, vehicles, and gas appliances. If installed and maintained properly, they should have the ventilation to divert the carbon monoxide output. Monitor these devices as you would your carbon monoxide detectors.
Keep aware of the previously mentioned carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms: dizziness, headache, nausea, etc. Reacting quickly to them may protect you from further illness.
3. Keep Vents Clear
Carbon monoxide-related deaths happen most often during winter months; debris caused by storms—particularly snow—may sometimes block the ventilation of fuel-burning sources and cause carbon monoxide to route back into your home. Whenever you weather a storm, check your home’s perimeter to make sure no snow, trees, or other items are blocking your vents.
4. Don’t Run Engines in Closed Area
Not all fuel-burning sources are stationary and plugged into proper ventilation at all times. Some carbon monoxide producers, like grills, vehicles, and generators, are mobile and may not always have the right ventilation.
Avoid using these items over a long period of time in spaces like garages or basements. Even those with open doors may find carbon monoxide build up in the center of the structure.
5. Seek Professional Help
If safety’s a top priority (which it should always be), seek the advice of professionals. Have your carbon monoxide detectors professionally installed and invite a home inspector to also check out your fuel-burning sources to make sure they are properly ventilated. Having a second opinion can bring peace of mind and long-term health benefits.
Northeast Insurance Agency not only wants your homeowners’ insurance to be affordable but also for your home to be as safe as possible for you and your loved ones! Check out our Facebook Page for additional safety tips, updated insurance information, and much more!