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The Hood Magazine

Carbon Monoxide is Nothing to Mess With 

By: Foley’s Heating & AC, Inc.  

Carbon Monoxide is named “The Silent Killer” because you can’t smell it, taste it or see it. In confined spaces carbon monoxide can render occupants helpless in minutes and left unchecked cause death. Obviously, this time of year the incidences of carbon monoxide leakage and poisoning go up due to the increased use of furnaces, heaters and fireplaces. Carbon monoxide leaks can also occur with the use of any gas-based appliances. Breathing carbon monoxide deprives the blood from transporting oxygen throughout your body. In effect carbon monoxide poisoning is asphyxiation.  

Low level carbon monoxide poisoning over a prolonged period of time and accelerated poisoning share many of the same symptoms. In either case if you recognize any of the following symptoms, turn off the source of the carbon monoxide (if known), exit the structure, and immediately call 911. Since carbon monoxide is flammable it is important to not do anything that might create a source of ignition via sparks or flames. Symptoms include:  

  • Dizziness  

  • Headache  

  • Vision impairment  

  • Disorientation  

  • Muscle weakness/cramps  

  • Nausea  

  • Seizure  

Every year people needlessly die because of carbon monoxide poisoning due to poor ventilation, leakage and improper use of gas-based appliances and reckless behavior.   

Prevention comes in many forms and all should be adopted to ensure your safety and that of your family, friends and pets.   

  1. Arrange annually to have a licensed HVAC professional inspect your home’s HVAC system and gas-based appliances and systems.  

  1. Have your fireplace and chimney inspected. Gas fireplaces should be checked with the aforementioned, while wood burning fireplaces need to checked for creosote build-up and cleaned regularly.  

  1. Install carbon monoxide detectors. One should be installed in close proximity to sleeping areas, basement, kitchen and any other heavily occupied area. Test units monthly and change batteries with each seasonal time change.  

  1. Never warm up/run your vehicles in the garage, even with the garage door open. Carbon monoxide can seep into the house even though the vehicle may be exposed to the outdoors.