Carbon Monoxide Safety – What Families Need To Know
If your home is heated by a gas furnace, for your family’s safety, it is important that you know the basics about carbon monoxide safety. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a silent, odorless killer. Here are some sobering facts:
Deaths: The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report, on average, 430 deaths annually by accidental CO poisoning.
Hospitalization: National Institutes of Health (NIH) report, on average, 2,000 hospitalizations annually due to accidental CO poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms to Look For
Because exposure to carbon monoxide gas produces symptoms that mimic the flu, it’s important to know the difference. Here are typical symptoms of CO poisoning:
- Blurred vision
- Dull headache
- Loss of consciousness
- Nausea or vomiting
CO Safety Practices Every Home Should Follow
Get Annual Furnace Tune-Ups
Every homeowner with a gas powered furnace should have an annual tune-up. During an annual tune-up, skilled technicians will inspect the entire furnace. Pilot light system and gas pressure are evaluated and adjusted if necessary. Mechanical equipment is also inspected. Some working parts may require adjustment or lubrication. To ensure your family’s safety, it’s important to get a tune-up and a clean bill of health for your furnace every year.
Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector will emit a loud sound to warn you when carbon monoxide gas in the air. They are easy to purchase at any home improvement store for about $25-$50. They simply plug into an outlet and monitor your home’s air, much like a smoke alarm. If your home has gas powered appliances (like furnaces), this is a necessary piece of home safety equipment.
A smoke detector IS NOT a CO detector, although combination detectors are sold. CO detectors should be installed on every living level within a home, in the basement and near an attached garage (but not inside the garage). Select detectors with battery back-up if it features a hard-wired power source. Also, be sure to install fresh batteries in existing CO detectors every year.
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