It’s getting cold and even if it’s autumn, you have to figure out the ways to get ready come winter time. Even if winter is not as lovely as the rest of the year, it is undoubtedly the most anticipated. That is because it is the time when we all have to dwell in our homes and do everything we can to stay warm.
For the most part, we rely on firing up our home heating oil systems, gas furnaces, fireplaces, and wood-burning stoves in order to provide utmost warmth and coziness inside. But not a lot of us understand that when it comes to using our heating systems that utilize fuel sources, we become a risk of inhaling carbon monoxide.
By definition, carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that is produced whenever fuel sources aren’t completely burned when used for home heating. Those fuel sources include natural gas, gasoline, propane, kerosene, and heating oil. Carbon monoxide is dangerous, and attesting to that is the fact that it is considered as one of the leading causes of death by poisoning. In the United States alone, about four hundred people die from it every year. Adding to that is four thousand Americans who are rushed to the hospital for the same reason. Also, there are about twenty thousand people who get sick because of it.
An appliance that uses combustion like heating tanks, furnaces, wood stoves, and hot water heater will produce carbon monoxide. And since you have at least one of those mentioned appliances in your home, it is also likely you’re exposed to carbon monoxide.
And because the gas is odorless and colorless, the likely scenario is that you are not even aware that you are already inhaling it, unless of course it’s too late. If you are experiencing from a heart disease, there is also a double risk of dying because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Protecting Your Family
The good news though is that you can take the necessary steps in order to protect your family from poisoning. Here are some valuable tips to live by:
1. Be sure that your appliances are installed and vented properly. The best thing to do in order to guarantee installation is to call for professional help.
2. If you are using gas and wood burning appliances, you have to subject them to inspection regularly. The same goes for all your heating and ventilation systems, including chimneys and furnaces. The inspection must be regularly done in order to monitor if there is in fact carbon monoxide leaking in the living space. Also, it is recommended that you call in a qualified service technician to do the annual inspection and servicing.
3. Do not forget to inspect your home after enduring a heavy and big snow storm. If there is presence of snow in the exhaust stacks, fresh air intakes, and vents, make sure they are removed.
4. Finally, it is practical to purchase a carbon monoxide detector for your home. While there is no guarantee of safety, the detector is a pretty good precautionary measure. As mentioned earlier, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, but the detector will serve the purpose of detecting it for you.
What Are The Things You Shouldn’t Do?
1. Do not use a gas range or oven for heating your home. Apart from the strong possibility of poisoning, these two aren’t designed for heating space.
2. Do not leave your car running in a closed garage. There have been many reported cases of people choking from carbon monoxide coming from the exhaust of a running engine.
3. Charcoal shouldn’t be burned indoors.
4. Unvented fuel-burning appliances must only be used outdoors.
It pays if you know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. This way, you can prevent untimely injury or even death. Although most people wouldn’t know that they are already exposed, there are initial symptoms. Most of them are like when you’re having flu, but without the fever. These symptoms include:
• Shortness of breath
For high level of poisoning on the other hand, the severe symptoms include:
• Mental confusion
• Lack or even total loss of muscular coordination
• Loss of consciousness
You have to be sure you are aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Although your heating systems and appliances at home are of great use, they still can be very dangerous when not properly installed and maintained. It will only require a little time and effort to know more about safety and precautionary measures.