Do’s & Don’ts to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon Monoxide detectorIn our previous blog, we looked at how to choose and get the most out of carbon monoxide detectors for your home. In this article, we'll look at some does and don’ts that will help you keep “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO), out of your life completely. The most common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is a fault in heating equipment. DO have your furnace inspected annually by an HVAC professional. This will cost about $100 but pay off big in safety and maybe save you some more expensive repairs. If you use a wood stove, fireplace or other wood burning equipment, DO get your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional chimney sweep. Many sweeps will do a full inspection of your whole wood burning system at little or no extra cost, so you can not only greatly reduce your fire risk but also be sure there are no problems lurking in the equipment that can produce carbon monoxide fumes later. DON'T ever use a combustion-based portable heater inside your house unless you have a way of venting the resulting gasses outside. DO follow all manufacturer recommendations and plain old common sense whenever using any portable heater. DON'T ever use cooking appliances like a gas range or oven to heat your home. These can produce a great deal of carbon monoxide in a relatively short period of time and aren't as well vented as a furnace. DON'T cover the bottom of a gas oven with aluminum foil. Some sources recommend this to reflect heat back and improve the oven's efficiency, but it also disrupts airflow through the appliance and can therefore lead to a carbon monoxide buildup. DON'T ever grill indoors or use a camp stove or generator indoors. For these purposes, “indoors” includes under a carport or breezeway; carbon monoxide fumes can easily build up in these semi-enclosed spaces. DO locate your generator as far from your house as possible and downwind. This will keep fumes from entering your home. DO have the proper tools, parts and skills before performing any repairs or maintenance on an appliance that uses combustion, such as ranges, water heaters, gas dryers, etc. If in doubt, call in a professional. DO follow all recommendations in the manufacturer's manuals for your combustion appliances. DO buy appliances which carry the seal of a recognized testing laboratory. DON'T use duct tape or any “jury-rigged” patch on any appliance, especially on exhaust venting. This can lead to carbon monoxide venting out of the patch into your living space. Replace the damaged part instead. DO make sure that any appliance exhaust vents tilt at least slightly upward, which will more effectively clear carbon monoxide. If a vent is level, it should be repositioned/reinstalled. DO look into any strange odors (especially ammonia-like smells) you encounter if you have a gas-powered refrigerator on your camper or RV. This may indicate a problem with the power source and should be fixed immediately. DO follow the same carbon monoxide safety rules in your RV/camper that you follow at home. DON'T run your car in your garage with the door closed, even for a minute. It's simply too easy to lose track of time and be overcome by a buildup of fumes. DO have your vehicle checked out by a mechanic immediately if you smell exhaust fumes inside the car at any time. A hole in your exhaust system is a very serious matter. DO open some of your other windows to provide ventilation if you're driving an SUV, crossover or station wagon with the back hatch or lift gate open. DO leave your home right away and call 911 if your carbon monoxide detectors go off. DON'T reenter until firefighters have given you the “all clear.” These tips should keep your air clean and safe at home and on the road. LDR Cleaning and Restoration is one of the premier restoration companies in Rockford, Illinois and Southern Wisconsin. LDR provides restoration services from water damage, mold removal, fire damage restoration, storm and hail damage repair for commercial and residential properties. Capable of handling any size loss and working with all types of insurance providers, the LDR disaster team is available 24 hours a day, 365 days per year. Click here to contact LDR, or call 1-888-874-7066. Download your free home disaster planning eBook  


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