The Silent Killer – Carbon Monoxide

There could be an invisible killer in your home just waiting to strike.

No, it’s not a low-budget science fiction movie, but reality — it’s carbon monoxide poisoning and homes with fuel-burning heating equipment could experience an attack of the silent killer at any time.

But don‘t live in fear; with some forethought along with proper education, maintenance and equipment usage the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning can be virtually eliminated from your home.

Any machinery that burns natural gas, kerosene, oil, charcoal or wood releases a colorless, odorless and potentially fatal gas, carbon monoxide. These include oil and natural gas furnaces; natural gas dryers, ovens, ranges, and water heaters; kerosene and natural gas space heaters; wood stoves; and fireplaces. You can’t hear it, see it, or smell it, but in concentrated doses carbon monoxide can kill you within minutes.

Be prepared — at the beginning of each heating season, have a professional inspect all of the fuel-burning equipment in your home. Inspect all vents and flues to make sure their connections are tight and obstruction-free. Install a carbon monoxide detector if you don’t already have one, but remember that carbon monoxide detectors are not infallible. Look for a laboratory-tested device, and don’t let your CO detector lull you into a false state of security. Always remain alert for symptoms of poisoning whenever any fuel combustion device is working.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. They start with a shortness of breath and a mild feeling of nausea along with a mild headache. Increased exposure will likely bring more severe headaches and nausea along with confusion and dizziness and even fainting spells. But because these symptoms can also come from sicknesses like the flu or even food poisoning, the best way to tell if there is carbon monoxide poisoning — aside from having your detector sounding the alarm — is to observe other people in the home. If they share your symptoms, it is likely there is a carbon monoxide problem.

If others are feeling the same way, or if you are alone, immediately open your doors and windows to let in some fresh air. Turn off your combustion apparatus and get away from the area, then call your local fire department. The rescue personnel would rather you call them without a real poisoning problem than to have to visit your home later to find a more serious situation.

For professional and expert carbon monoxide safety information, call Family Danz – we will be happy to help.