In order to stay warm during the winter, many homeowners opt to use furnaces, fireplaces, and portable electric heaters. While these appliances are mostly safe to use, every winter, a few dozen homeowners and their families die from carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide is a poisonous gas that is sometimes emitted from malfunctioning appliances that burn organic material to produce heat. Here are a few tips that will help you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in the cold months of winter.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by installing multiple detectors throughout your home. Unlike many other poisonous gases, carbon monoxide is scentless, colorless, and tasteless. This makes carbon monoxide especially deadly, because homeowners cannot detect the presence of this gas in their home without the use of special equipment. Therefore, you should have a carbon monoxide detector installed in every room of your home, especially bedrooms and living rooms where portable electric heaters tend to be used.
You should install the carbon monoxide detectors as high up on the wall as you possibly can. Since carbon monoxide is a light gas, it will rise towards the roof of your home instead of remaining at floor level. Have the batteries of the carbon monoxide detectors replaced every year to ensure they work when you need them. Try to purchase carbon monoxide detectors that go off when the battery needs to be replaced.
If you burn anything in a stove or fireplace in your home, you should make sure there is proper ventilation. Carbon monoxide poisoning is virtually impossible if you’re outside. On the other hand, in closed spaces, carbon monoxide gas builds up to toxic levels.
After you use the stove, fireplace, or portable electric heater, you should open the windows in your home for about ten minutes. This will allow any carbon monoxide that has built up to leave your home.
Ventilation is not enough when it comes to vehicles like cars or trucks. If you have a garage that is attached to your home, you should never leave your vehicle running and unattended, even if you leave the garage door open. The exhaust from a vehicle can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
Know the Signs
One way you can protect your family, including yourself, from carbon monoxide poisoning is by simply knowing the signs and symptoms. Some common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include feeling nauseous, dizzy, and light-headed. Dull headaches, weakness, vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, and blurred vision are the more severe symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, you should go outside and call the fire department. Seek medical attention immediately.
While carbon monoxide poisoning is very rare, you should still take measures to protect yourself. As you can see, there are many things you can do to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Just follow the tips above, and you and your family will be adequately protected from the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.