They call it the “silent killer”. Carbon monoxide cannot be smelled, tasted or seen. But it is certainly lethal. Health Canada explains that “CO forms whenever you burn fuel like propane, natural gas, gasoline, oil, coal and wood. It is also contained in second-hand smoke.” So you would think that preventing carbon monoxide poisoning would be easy, right? Simply avoid using any of the above mentioned products.
Not so easy. Especially with the summertime quickly approaching and “barbeque season” about to take off, avoiding such useful BBQ requirements as propane, coal or wood isn’t going to be very likely. Of course, when used correctly and with great caution, these products should be no major cause for concern. Who doesn’t love a good barbeque in the summer? Diligent attention to maintenance, however, can mean the difference between optimum health and death!
Health Canada admits that “while CO can be present in your home or cottage at any time of the year, the risk is greater in cold winter months. That’s because homes in Canada are usually heated by furnaces, water heaters/boilers, wood stoves, and other appliances that run on fuels. If these devices are improperly installed or malfunction, they can release CO into your home.” So what ways can we prevent carbon monoxide from entering our homes during the summer?
Here are four ways:
1. Regularly check your appliances. You may not be using your furnaces and fireplaces all that much during the warmer months of the year. But that doesn’t mean that they should be ignored. Health Canada insists that you “make sure appliances like furnaces, fireplaces, gas stoves, and water heaters are well maintained and inspected by a professional at least once a year.” Don’t forget to check all of your propane and natural gas powered appliances as well.
2. Turn the car off! It sounds like a tip that belongs in the “no-brainer” category. But it should be stressed that when you park your car in your garage, there’s no reason to keep the engine running for any length of time. As Everwell.com explains, a “car exhaust has high levels of carbon monoxide, so never leave your car running in the garage – not even with the door open. It only takes a few minutes for the fumes to move from the garage into the house.”
3. Open the windows. It’s generally a good idea to allow the air in your home to circulate with the air outside. And although you can never be too sure about what pollutants exist in the air outside, you can be sure to reduce the levels of the carbon monoxide that may be in your home by allowing some fresh air in. This will be especially important if you are experiencing any of the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning: headaches, nausea and dizziness.
4. Leave it outside! Barbeques and portable fuel-burning camping equipment are meant for outdoor use. They are also meant for outdoor storage. Health Canada warns to never bring such things inside your home, garage, vehicle, camper or tent. As well, “don’t use kerosene or oil space heaters or lamps in enclosed areas unless they’re specifically designed for indoor use,” they report. And as if it wasn’t already obvious, strictly prohibit cigarette smoking indoors.
At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take indoor air quality very seriously. With “silent killers” like carbon monoxide posing serious threats to your health, it’s important for thorough inspections to be completed in order to ensure the top quality of the air you breathe in your home. For more information on our Air Quality Services, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.