Most of us spend a lot of time in our homes during the long winter months, relying on our home heating equipment to keep us safe and protected from the frigid Hudson Valley cold.
But we shouldn’t take that safety for granted: when we spend all those hours indoors, we are also exposing ourselves to greater risk from carbon monoxide (CO) leaks.
Carbon monoxide poisoning – a dangerous and potentially deadly hazard – can happen where there are CO leaks in an enclosed space. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas emitted during the combustion of any fuel, and it usually accumulates due to poor ventilation or equipment malfunction. A blocked vent or flue, a damaged or poorly maintained heating system, or overuse of an unvented heating appliance can all cause a dangerous CO build-up in your home.
How serious is CO poisoning? Very – although how serious the problem can get depends on the level of exposure to the gas. Limited exposure can cause flu-like symptoms (headaches, nausea, and fatigue); moderate exposure can cause severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation; high exposure can lead to unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and potentially death.
Exposure to carbon monoxide can be especially dangerous for young children, in whom the spread of CO poisoning is more rapid.
If you experience any of the carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms described above, take the following steps immediately:
Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable with some sensible preparation and awareness. Here are six keys to preventing CO dangers in your home:
Stay safe this winter! Contact us if you have any questions about safety and your heating equipment, or to schedule professional heating maintenance or an inspection for your Hudson Valley-area home.