This is the time of year that we start thinking a lot about carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless and tasteless gas and it is a by-product created from the incomplete burning of a fuel. Any appliance in your home that burns oil, gas, wood etc. creates carbon monoxide. All fuel burning appliances and fireplaces need to be properly vented so that the carbon monoxide produced is released outside and not within your home. One of the largest creaters of carbon monoxide is a gas furnace. This is why carbon monoxide exposure becomes such an important topic this time of year.Emergency rooms treat approximately 15,000 people each year for exposure to carbon monoxide. One of the reasons carbon monoxide is so dangerous is that the symptoms of moderate exposure can be very similar to those of the flu. Continued exposure to this gas gas can cause permanent damage to the lungs and brain. At higher levels of exposure it can be fatal. This is why it is so important that every home have working carbon monoxide detectors in place.
Before choosing a carbon monoxide detector, do a little research. You can choose either a battery operated detector or one that plugs in. A plug in unit goes into any wall outlet and can be moved from room to room. It is important to note however that unless your device has a battery back-up you are unprotected in the event of a power loss. Battery-operated units are typically attached to the wall. In order to be safe it is imperative that you make sure the batteries are always working. Where you place your detectors is also very important. Because people are particularly vulnerable while they are sleeping it is advised that detectors be placed outside of sleeping areas. They also need to be on each floor of the home. Finally remember to check your detectors once a month to make sure they are working properly. I
Detectors are one step in preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. There are other ways to prevent exposure as well. They are listed below.
* Have your furnace and chimneys inspected every year and serviced as needed.
* Have your gas appliances installed only by qualified professionals.
* Use tools that burn fuel only in well ventilated areas.
* Keep you furnace, water heater and dryer vents clear of leaves, debris and snow.
* Never idle your car in a garage.
* Never use an oven as a heat source or a gas grill inside your home.
* Never use a generator inside your home.
Before you turn on your furnace this season, call MTB Heating and Air to inspect your gas furnace to make sure there are no carbon monoxide leaks. If you don’t already have carbon monoxide detectors in place, make sure you purchase them and always make sure they are in working order. They are your lasy line of defense against exposure.
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