Carbon Monoxide

THE SILENT KILLER

Carbon monoxide: You can’t see it, smell it, or taste it, but it kills approximately 200 Americans each year and sends another 10,000 to hospital emergency rooms. Please learn how to protect your family from this invisible killer.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas produced by the incomplete combustion of fuel. Any fuel-burning appliance such as a water heater, space heater, fireplace, or furnace can be a source of the deadly gas. When CO is inhaled, it reduces the amount of oxygen that gets to cells, suffocating the victim. Symptoms of CO poisoning include headaches, sleepiness, nausea, and dizziness.

How Does CO Enter the Home?

Most newer homes are built air-tight, thus cutting down on the supply of fresh air to your furnace – and creating an oxygen starved flame. Tight closing replacement windows and doors, as well as additional insulation can cause similar problems in older homes.

Carbon monoxide can spill from vent connections in poorly maintained or blocked chimneys. If the flue liner is cracked or deteriorated, CO can seep through the liner and into the house – slowly creeping up to dangerous levels. If a nest or other materials restrict or block the flue, CO will mostly spill back into the house.

Improperly sized flues connected to new high-efficiency furnaces and water heaters can also contribute to CO spillage. (Many new furnaces and water heaters are installed using the existing chimneys which may be the wrong size to allow the furnace to vent properly.)

Warming up vehicles in an attached garage, even with the garage door opened, can allow concentrated amounts of CO to enter your home through the car port door or near-by windows.

PREVENTION

Install UL rated Carbon Monoxide Detectors throughout your house. The detectors should be installed near the bedroom and sleeping areas. Additional detectors should be located throughout the house but at least fifteen (15) feet from appliances.

Have a qualified service professional inspect all your fuel-burning appliances annually (preferably before heating season).

Never operate an automobile for an extended period of time inside a garage without proper ventilation.

If your carbon monoxide detectors “sounds” contact a qualified service professional or Golder Ranch Fire District.

If you or your family display chronic flu-like symptoms, exit your home and call 911 immediately.

Additional information is available from the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CSPC).

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