What exactly is carbon monoxide?
As defined by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, carbon monoxide—also known as (CO)—is a deadly, colorless, odorless, tasteless, poisonous gas; these qualities have earned it the nickname “The Silent Killer.” It is mainly emitted by the partial burning of a number of fuel resources; these include propane, wood, coal, oil, kerosene, and natural gases. Most products out in the market and equipment we use on a day to day basis also produce CO.
Why should homeowners know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), learning the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and the steps you can take to minimize your risk of exposure is also crucial to keeping you and your loved ones safe. At moderate CO levels, you and your family can get severe headaches, become dizzy or disoriented, mentally confused, nauseated, or faint. It’s possible to die if these levels persist for an extended period of time. Low levels of CO can cause shortness of breath, mild nausea and headaches, and may have longer-term effects on overall health.
Because many of these symptoms are similar to those of more common ailments like the flu and food poisoning, many don’t even think of CO poisoning. This is the first mistake. If these symptoms only appear when you’re in the house and then get better when you leave home, CO poisoning could very likely be the culprit. Getting fresh air as soon as any of these symptoms surface is key.
What are some preventive measures one may take to remove carbon monoxide from the equation?
- Proper skills, knowledge, and tools are required when operating fuel-burning equipment. Check the owner’s manual when performing minor adjustments or servicing fuel-burning machinery.
- Portable fuel-burning camping equipment should never be used indoors or in an enclosed space unless it is specifically designed for such use.
- Recognize the need to have yearly inspection and maintenance of your heating systems to prevent the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Having this kind of knowledge relating to what carbon monoxide really is and what it can do to you and your entire family is key; it’s best to be proactive and take action now rather than sit back and wait until something happens to react. If preventive measures are to be taken (the first of which should be to secure the annual maintenance of your chimney or fireplace), then so be it.
Most of the time, a home’s heating system is often overlooked due to the lack of information on its importance to homeowners. Whether it be mild or severe CO poisoning, it pays to be vigilant. Keep two things in mind:
- There are no dumb questions.
- Failure to ask a question you think is dumb could cost you your life.
There’s no time to waste! Contact Mountain Man Fireplace and Chimney, Inc now. We’ll be glad to answer any and all questions you may have. Pick up that phone and schedule an appointment today!