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Fire Restoration November 11, 2016

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Home

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas that can cause severe health problems and even death to unsuspecting people in their home. This deadly gas results from burning fuel (gas, wood, propane, etc.) in various appliances and machines, such as stoves, fireplaces, gas ranges, lawnmowers, electric generators, and more.

Preventing CO poisoning requires proper maintenance of fuel-burning appliances and CO alarms. Learn more about how to avoid CO poisoning in your home below:

  • Have your fuel-burning appliances, such as water system, water heater, fireplaces, wood stoves, as well as your heating system inspected and/or serviced at least once a year by a certified professional.
  • Install CO detectors outside each sleeping area on every level of the home, as well as in other locations that are required by laws, standards or codes. It’s recommended to interconnect all CO alarms, so that when one sounds, they all do. Replace batteries twice a year (when you change time for example) and replace CO alarms every five years. Test the alarms once a month.
  • Never use gas ovens to heat up your home. Also, don’t use gas camp stoves or charcoal grills indoors.
  • Make sure gas appliances are vented properly. The horizontal vent pipes of heating appliances should go up slightly to prevent CO from leaking.
  • When buying gas equipment, be sure to check for the seal of a national testing agency like Underwriter’s Laboratories.
  • Have your chimney checked for soot, debris, and corrosion at least once a year. Hire a chimney sweep to clean your chimney once a year.
  • When the fireplace is in use, open the flues. Close the fireplace or damper only when the fire is completely out.
  • Be careful when using gas-powered electric generators — never use them in your home, basement or garage, and keep them at least 20 feet from windows, vents or doors.
  • Never idle your vehicle inside a garage that’s attached to the house or a living space. Have a mechanic inspect your vehicle’s exhaust system once a year to prevent CO build-up in the vehicle.
  • Keep the vents for the stove, fireplace, dryer, and furnace clear of snow during and after a snowstorm.

If your CO alarm goes off and no one is experiencing CO poisoning symptoms (headache, weakness, dizziness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion), open all windows and turn off fuel-burning appliances. Have a certified technician inspect and fix the problem as soon as possible. In case someone is experiencing CO poisoning, call 911 immediately and get him/her to a hospital.

Learn more facts about carbon monoxide in this article. For professional fire, water and mold restoration services, contact your local PuroClean office.