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Carbon Monoxide – Symptoms, Detection and Prevention

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer. It’s an odorless gas that is impossible to detect and can cause flu-like symptoms or even death. This may sound like the next blockbuster horror movie in theaters, but unfortunately it  is a reality. There are ways to protect yourself and your family from CO poisoning.  Read on to learn more about Carbon Monoxide and how to guard against it.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

CO is a gas that is produced during combustion when fuel is burned. You can find Carbon Monoxide  in the fumes of car exhausts, stoves, grills, lanterns, fireplaces, furnaces and so much more. When equipment is outdoors or adequately ventilated, CO naturally dissipates, causing no harm. Carbon Monoxide can build up to toxic levels in enclosed areas, and the damage can be fatal. Nearly 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning each year. More than 20,000 emergency room visits and 4000 hospital stays are annually attributed to this deadly gas.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms

Identifying the onset of symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can save a life. Often confused with the flu, common CO poisoning symptoms can include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting and chest pain. More significant amounts of CO can cause confusion and unconsciousness. The very young and the elderly are more susceptible. CO poisoning while sleeping can be fatal.

Detecting Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

All homes in the United States are required to have smoke detectors but not CO detectors. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated that CO detectors are as important to home safety as smoke detectors. Having a CO detector in your home provides peace of mind. Dangerous levels of CO will cause it to emit a loud alarm. It is recommended that each level of a home should have one and should be positioned near sleeping quarters. Remember, you cannot smell or see CO, so a detector is essential to protect your family from this deadly poison.

Prevent CO Poisoning

Often the cause of CO poisoning in a home can be a faulty furnace. Problems with a furnace or its ability to ventilate properly can increase Carbon Monoxide levels. The Center for Disease Control recommends annual service of home heating systems by a qualified technician. Keeping your furnace in tip-top shape can help prevent CO poisoning. Bill’s Heating and Air Conditioning can help. An HVAC technician can service your furnace every year to check for any issues. They can also outfit your home with quality CO detectors. Call (402) 477-1371 or contact Bill’s online today to protect your family. Colder weather keeps that furnace working all season long. Make sure it’s doing its job the safe way!