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Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

Depositphotos_67804061_s-2015In our last couple of blogs, we revisited the topic of radon and its ability to seep into our homes through cracks and other inconspicuous openings. While not particularly dangerous in the open air, radon can be the cause of some very serious health problems if concentrated in confined spaces. This is why it’s so vitally important to prevent it from entering your home and detect its presence if it has made its way indoors.

Detection, however, isn’t all that easy. After all, radon is both colourless and odourless. And it’s not the only gas to have these qualities. Carbon monoxide (CO) has long been known as “the silent killer”. In fact, it’s the leading cause of fatal poisonings in North America. Needless to say, carbon monoxide poisoning should be avoided at all costs.

But if carbon monoxide can’t be smelled, seen or tasted, how will you know if it’s around you? According to James Carey and Morris Carey, “having a working CO detector in your home is critical.” In their book, Home Maintenance For Dummies, they insist that “if you don’t already have a CO detector, you should buy one.” Courtesy of Dummies.com, an excerpt from the book explains just how a CO detector should be used.

“The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that every home with fuel-burning appliances of any kind be equipped with a least one CO detector,” inform Carey and Carey, “Place your CO detectors anywhere from 14 inches above the floor to eye level, and never where there is a draft (such as near a window, doorway, or stairwell).”

What creates carbon monoxide gas? “Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is a by-product of appliances, heaters, and automobiles that burn gasoline, natural gas, wood, oil, kerosene, or propane,” informs HealthyChildren.org. As a result, it’s important to inspect such appliances regularly. “Don’t mess around with CO,” insist the Careys, “Once a year, have your heating system, vents, chimney, and flue inspected (and cleaned if necessary) by a qualified technician. And make sure that your fuel-burning appliances always are vented.”

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning? As listed by HealthyChildren.org, they include headaches, nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, confusion and fainting. Such symptoms, however, indicate that there may have been a low concentration of exposure to carbon monoxide. The effects of CO exposure in higher concentrations can result in personality changes, memory loss, severe lung injury, brain damage and death.

How can carbon monoxide poisoning be prevented? Firstly, you should have all of your fuel-burning appliances checked by a professional, at least once a year. They include gas water heaters, gas stoves and gas clothes dryers. It’s also important to not use gas cooking stove tops and ovens for supplemental heat during the winter. Fireplaces and woodstoves should also go through annual inspections. Fuel-burning space heaters need regular check-ups too.

The Air Quality Services provided by DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd. seek to detect and therefore, eliminate any air quality problems that can lead to health problems for you and your family. We maximize our inspection processes so that no potential area of concern is missed. If the possibility of CO poisoning is present in your home, we’ll find it! For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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