Carbon monoxide (CO) safety reminders
Most people know how dangerous carbon monoxide (CO) can be. But, do you know what causes a build-up of the potentially deadly gas in your home – or what to do if someone living with you displays signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
Here is a short carbon monoxide primer to help you with these important points and more. If you have more questions about CO safety in your oil-fired NJ home, feel free to contact us: your safety is always our #1 concern!
Carbon monoxide 101
- Carbon monoxide, or “CO”, is an odorless, colorless gas that is produced when you burn any fuel – including propane, wood, coal, heating oil, and especially natural gas.
- In very small amounts, carbon monoxide is harmless – but if exposed to a high enough concentration of the gas, a person can experience carbon monoxide poisoning, which can lead to illness, disorientation, or worse.
- A dangerous carbon monoxide build-up is typically caused by poorly functioning equipment or inadequate ventilation. A blocked flue, improper maintenance, or overuse of an unvented heater can all cause a dangerous CO build-up in your home.
- More than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms each year with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Look out for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning
Signs of CO poisoning aren’t always obvious at first, but can worsen as exposure to the gas increases. In the early phases of exposure, flu-like symptoms are common. As exposure increases, severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation are possible. When exposed to high concentrations of CO, unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and worse can be the result. For more on CO poisoning symptoms, please visit the Mayo Clinic website.
If you notice CO poisoning symptoms,
- Get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors, then leave the house
- Call 911
- Report your symptoms to your doctor
- Get a professional inspection for your appliances before using them again
Five ways to avoid CO poisoning dangers in your NJ home
Here are the five best ways to prevent carbon monoxide dangers in your home:
- Maintain your heating equipment regularly. Routine heating system service from a qualified expert will help spot CO problems early or avoid them in the first place.
- Install CO detectors on every floor of your home. If you don’t have CO detectors in your NJ home, get them today (they’re required by law). Replace batteries once a year and replace the detector itself every five or ten years (depending on the model).
- Keep outdoor exhaust vents clear. Blocked exhaust vents can cause a dangerous buildup inside your home. Be sure to clear exhaust vents, flues, and other lines after all storms; use a broom rather than a shovel to avoid damaging your equipment.
- Keep an eye on your pets. If your pet seems sick or unusually slow to awaken, take him or her outside, check your CO detectors, and open windows.
- Never use outdoor equipment indoors. Barbecue grills, portable generators, and outdoor space heaters are not equipped for indoor use; they don’t have the hardware to safely event
At Hilltop Energy, your safety is always our #1 priority! If you have any questions about carbon monoxide safety in your oil heated NJ home, please contact us.