What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning-and How Can You Prevent It?
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What Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning-and How Can You Prevent It?


Carbon monoxide is a silent killer. It is an invisible, odorless gas produced by a variety of fuel-burning household items, such as gas or oil furnaces, room or water heaters, wood burning stoves or fireplaces, charcoal grills, and portable generators. Because it’s impossible to detect without a device, carbon monoxide can reach deadly concentrations without anyone noticing—especially at night, when a family is asleep.

Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms may include:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Chest pain
  • Nausea
  • Irregular breathing
  • Loss of consciousness

Because many of these are flu-like symptoms, you may not immediately realize you are in serious danger. Some don’t experience all the symptoms, or they simply fall asleep, never to regain consciousness. Those particularly vulnerable to carbon monoxide include infants, the elderly, and individuals with anemia, heart disease, or breathing problems.

6 Ways to Prevent Your Furnace from Leaking Carbon Monoxide

According to the CDC, carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 Americans every day. Roughly 4,000 are hospitalized, and an appalling 20,000 visit the ER. This is not, however, an inevitable tragedy.

Because of its presence in heaters, carbon monoxide poisoning is particularly common in the winter. If your appliance is not installed or maintained properly, deadly levels of carbon monoxide could accumulate in your home—especially in poorly ventilated areas.

Here are 6 steps you can take to prevent a carbon monoxide leak:

  1. Install your furnace properly. Do not attempt to cut costs by installing the furnace yourself. A qualified and well-trained HVAC technician will install it according to building codes and ventilation requirements.
  2. Follow the user instruction manual. This will include safety precautions such as using the appliance in well-ventilated areas, and never leaving an unvented heater on overnight.
  3. Invest in yearly furnace maintenance. Skilled and experienced technicians will not only clean your furnace but also inspect it for cracks and leaks.
  4. Prioritize necessary repairs. If you discover a potential leak or learn about it from your technician, do not delay the repair or attempt it yourself.
  5. Regularly replace your furnace’s air filter. Consult your furnace manual or your technician regarding which filter to use and how often to replace it.
  6. Replace your furnace as needed. The length of time a furnace will last depends on the manufacturer as well as the frequency and quality of maintenance. If your furnace is beginning to function poorly or break down regularly, replacing it will likely prevent the wear and tear that precedes a leak.

Beyond proper furnace use and maintenance, you can stay safe from a carbon monoxide leak by installing a detector near sleeping areas, changing the batteries regularly, and replacing it every five years. When it comes to the safety of your loved ones, there is no such thing as too much caution.

Let Us Help You Protect Your Family

Our technicians at Roth Heating & Cooling, Plumbing, Electrical, Drain Services have more than 40 years of experience providing homeowners with high-quality services at competitive rates. Because customer service is (and always has been) our top priority, your safety and wellbeing are of utmost importance.

We are available 24/7, so there is no need to wait. Call (503) 266-1249 today for immediate service or schedule your appointment online.

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