While most of us know that carbon monoxide is dangerous and that we shouldn’t run our cars with the garage door closed, few of us realize there are other sources of this deadly gas in our homes, which may cause problems.
How It Happens
CO is odorless and colorless and is a byproduct of combustion, and can be produced by coal, wood, kerosene, charcoal, natural gas and propane. An average of 170 people die from exposure to CO in non-automotive accidents each year in this country.
Among the types of equipment that produce CO are power washers, lawn mowers, generators and kerosene lamps. Cases of CO exposure have also occurred when residents cook on a gas grill near their home or in an enclosed space.
During Hurricane Katrina, there were at least 47 deaths due to carbon monoxide exposure. Several thousand people are treated in emergency rooms every year for CO exposure.
The first symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, nausea, dizziness, fatigue and shortness of breath. Signs of severe poisoning include vomiting, loss of coordination, mental confusion and loss of consciousness. Whether symptoms worsen or not will depend on duration and amount of exposure. Victims should be removed from the site of the exposure immediately and seek treatment.
There are a number of things homeowners can do to prevent CO exposure from occurring. These include:
- Have all CO-producing appliances installed by a professional. Make sure to perform regular maintenance on furnaces and fireplaces to ensure there are no defects or blockages.
- Never operate generators indoors. Don’t use portable camping equipment, such as propane burners or stoves indoors or in enclosed spaces, such as tents.
- Don’t start cars in an attached garage.
- Install a CO alarm in hallways near sleeping areas. Make sure it meets UL 2034 safety standards.
For more information about how to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning, contact Davis Air Conditioning. We serve homes with HVAC needs in Southwest Oklahoma.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Lawton and Duncan, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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