Carbon Monoxide Tips

Dated: 11/20/2018

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Carbon monoxide (CO) is one of the most dangerous gases because it is entirely odorless, colorless and impossible to detect on your own without any kind of aid. More than 400 people die from CO poisoning each year. Carbon monoxide comes from any home appliance or equipment that burns wood, propane, natural gas, oil or coal.  The numbers for CO poisoning always rise in the winter when people have their stoves, and heaters cranked up as high as they can go, making the cold season a particularly high-risk time of year.

It is very important to pay attention to any of the low-level symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. The symptoms are similar to common flu symptoms, which is another reason carbon monoxide poisoning is so dangerous. Because it’s more likely to occur during the winter, which is also flu season, sufferers may be likely to brush off their symptoms since they they assume they’re just suffering from the flu and will be better in a week or so.

Low to moderate levels of exposure to carbon monoxide cause symptoms such as:

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

  • Nausea

  • Fatigue

  • Headaches

With severe exposure to carbon monoxide, the symptoms will be much more intense, and may also include:

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of muscular coordination

  • Mental confusion

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Eventual death

So - what can you do to minimize the danger and prevent any harm from coming to your home?

Install Carbon Monoxide Monitors

The most important step you can take when it comes to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is to install carbon monoxide detectors. They should be installed on every floor of your home - especially outside your sleeping areas so you can hear them. They should also be placed near appliances that are potential hazards, but no closer than 15 feet. Avoid placing them near drafty areas like windows, vents and air registers. Also - do not place them near bathrooms where steam and heat can cause false alarms.

Testing...1, 2, 3

Once you have the detectors installed  - you should make sure you test them, and test them on a regular schedule.  These periodic tests will ensure the detectors are still in good working order and are prepared to alert you to any threats as they may arise.

Other tips

  • Clean your gas dryer filter. Lint can pose a fire hazard, and it also can block the vent. This means the CO has nowhere to go and then it is forced into your living space.

  • Do not ever use a charcoal grill inside your home.

  • Do not allow your car or lawnmower to idle inside the garage - even if the garage door is open.

  • Seal the house and garage so no fumes from the garage can find their way inside your house.

  • Get your appliances serviced regularly.

  • Run drills and develop an emergency plan with your family. To ensure your family knows what to do if the carbon monoxide alarm goes off, you should sit down and work out your emergency plan. Your emergency drill should include things like the importance of getting outside as soon as possible, as well as establishing a designated meeting place somewhere outside where everyone can gather for a headcount.

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Alexander Monticello Esq.

Alexander is a New York State licensed real estate broker and New York State licensed attorney. A life long upstate New Yorker, Alexander has lived and worked in the Capital Region since 2005. He has ....

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