Carbon monoxide has no odor or color, and that’s what makes it so dangerous. It can build up to toxic levels inside your home, without you ever knowing.
So, armed with this rather terrifying knowledge, what can you do to make sure that you and your family never get carbon monoxide poisoning?
An Ounce of Prevention
– If you have a gas furnace, you’ll want to make sure it has an official seal from a testing agency, like Underwriters’ Laboratories, for example.
– Your gas furnace and gas water heater must be vented properly. Any pipes that are horizontal should have a slight upward tilt towards the outside of your house. Without that slope, CO could leak out of loose-fitting pipes.
– Have a chimney? It needs to be inspected each year, to make sure it’s not being blocked by a bird, or by the byproduct creosote (deposits from smoke). If the chimney is blocked, then of course CO will get trapped in your house!
What NOT to Do
– Don’t use a gas oven to try and heat your home. This will cause CO levels to skyrocket! (However, we understand that if you’re doing this, it’s because the heat in your home isn’t working. If a fireplace or a space heater isn’t an option, then be sure to dress warmly, including a hat. Also, candles heat a home more effectively than you’d expect; one candle heats a room by approximately one degree. If your furnace is malfunctioning,
get one of our service techs to help as quickly as possible!
– Never use a generator, camp stove, grill, or anything else that’s gas/natural gas powered, INSIDE the home.
– Of course, don’t ever leave your car running in the garage unless the garage door is up. If you have an attached garage, then don’t leave the car running even if the garage door is up! To do otherwise is a recipe for CO poisoning.
What to Do
– Always check your CO detector. You should be replacing the battery each spring and fall. Also, it’s a good idea to have a CO detector that digitally reads even low levels. Contrary to popular belief, carbon monoxide can be dangerous even below levels that would make the alarm go off! Even at a mere one part per million, CO can cause cheat pain.
– If you suspect you have CO poisoning, don’t hesitate. Find fresh air immediately, leaving the doors of your home open. The people to call next are: your gas company, the fire department, and an HVAC contractor like us! We know that getting out of there sounds like a no-brainer, but people also need to keep in mind that every second they wait, they’ll be less capable of decision-making and more confused.
– Have annual maintenance done on your furnace and your gas water heater, to make sure that your fuel-burning friends are vented properly, and not malfunctioning! Click here to schedule maintenance, or call (713) 481-1305 , and make the safe decision for yourself and your family!