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Home Protection from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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Home is to be a place of safety. Does your home have carbon monoxide alarms? They are not the same as a smoke detector, and need to be located near the bedrooms.

Carbon monoxide is called the silent killer, because the gas is invisible and odorless. It is created when fuels such as gasoline, wood, coal, propane, oil, and methane burn incompletely. The vapor does not sink or rise, but mixes with the surrounding air, and breathing it in can be fatal or cause permanent injury.

What are sources of carbon monoxide?

Fire

Always sleep with your bedroom doors closed to keep out toxic fumes in case of a fire. It will provide a barrier to the toxic smoke, fire and heat. Have a plan for escaping through a window that everyone knows how to implement. Have a drill periodically, with a set place to meet outside.

Vehicles

Engine exhaust from a car is another common source. Do not start your car until the garage door is fully opened and you are ready to back out. Use the driveway to idle while warming it up, or cooling down the interior. Turn off your car run once you have pulled into your garage. Running the car engine even a few seconds in a garage can cause harm.

 

Stove  Do NOT use a gas range or gas oven for heating the house.

 

Water Heater

 Utility companies add a chemical that smells like rotten eggs to the gas line since gas is odorless. If you detect the smell of rotten eggs, do NOT try to find its source, do not turn on light switches to see, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE and call the gas company to come and inspect. Do not rely on your sense of smell to determine how serious the situation is.

Grill

Improperly placed grills (propane, charcoal) located too close to windows or doors is dangerous. With inclement weather, people have brought their grills in the garage to cook, which will dangerously concentrate fumes.  People have used camp stoves indoors to cook because of the loss of power and have died. Worse, every year people die using a charcoal grill indoors for heat. Outdoor cooking appliances are for outdoors only!

Fireplace

Make sure your chimney damper is open before starting a fire, and do not close it until the ashes are cool. Have your chimney inspected annually to see if it needs to be cleaned.

When you are doing kitchen remodeling, if a powerful range hood fan is installed that pulls out more air on high than can be replaced, it can suck air through a chimney and bring toxic fumes and ashes into the home if you have a fireplace. You will want to add an air supply line to avoid that risk.

 Generator

Using a generator indoors CAN KILL YOU IN MINUTES. Never use inside a home or garage, even if the doors and windows are open. Use outdoors only, away from the home.

 

When doing home remodeling, have a sufficient number of carbon monoxide alarms in the home, placed outside bedroom doors, and test them periodically.  A smoke alarm is NOT the same as a carbon monoxide alarm. When the alarm goes off, get out and away from the house to get fresh air, and call for help.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning: headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, and confusion. If carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected, get away from the house to get fresh air, and call 911.

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Happy, Safe, Home Remodeling!

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