As the cooler, and eventually cold, weather here in Southern Maryland has us spending even more time indoors, we face a danger: carbon monoxide.
The risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases in the winter. We’re indoors more, with the windows closed and our heating systems on.
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is a serious threat. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), about 50,000 people end up in the emergency room with carbon monoxide poisoning each year, and 4,000 of them having to be hospitalized. And, sadly, 400 people die of CO poisoning every year.
Carbon monoxide is often called a “silent killer,” because it is odorless and colorless.
When CO builds up in your blood, it starts to replace the oxygen in your red blood cells. As it builds up, the carbon monoxide starts starving critical organs like your brain, heart, and lungs of oxygen. This oxygen deprivation can cause serious, potentially permanent, injury or death.
Many carbon monoxide poisonings happen at night when people are sleeping. In situations like that, people can be in danger before they ever feel any symptoms.
Infants, children, the elderly, and people with breathing or heart conditions are especially vulnerable to CO poisoning.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often described as “flu-like.” They include:
If your CO detector goes off, or if you suspect that there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home, get everyone out of the house RIGHT AWAY, and call 911 and Taylor.
The best defense begins with installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home. There must be one on every level of your home, and that includes the basement, as well as outside all sleeping areas. Follow manufacturer’s instructions for installation.
Change the CO detector batteries at least once a year, and test them when you change your clocks. Your CO detector needs to be replaced one it reaches five years old.
If you use propane in your home, we strongly recommend that install propane leak detectors as a backup in case something like rust inside your propane tank inhibits the rotten-egg smell of propane. Propane leak detectors are inexpensive and can be bought at hardware and home improvement store, or online. Make sure you install them according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
DO NOT use your gas stove as supplemental heating. And DO NOT use propane gas equipment such as grills or portable generators indoors, or in enclosed or poorly ventilated spaces such as garages, carports, and sunporches.
Have your furnace or boiler get professional maintenance service every year. An annual tune-up by a professional service technician like the ones at Taylor can spot problems that can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in your home so they can be fixed.
Have questions about propane safety? Contact us. We’ll be glad to help!
Written By: on November 16, 2020