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Did You Know? Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Rises in the Winter

Angela Newton Digital Marketing Specialist

Do you test for carbon monoxide in your home? It’s one of the easiest and most important tests to ensure your family’s safety. Carbon monoxide, also called CO, is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause dizziness, nausea and even death from carbon monoxide poisoning. 

Carbon monoxide is produced when a fuel doesn’t burn completely. Gas appliances and other fuel-burning household devices – such as a wood-burning fireplace, generator or engine – produce invisible carbon monoxide fumes. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it, especially in the winter months.

Carbon monoxide testers are very affordable and reliable. You can have them installed in your home or plug them into your wall.

What is CO poisoning?

Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when there is a buildup of CO in an enclosed space. A buildup can occur when the source is improperly vented or operated or has malfunctioned.

Prolonged exposure to CO can deprive your body of oxygen. Because you cannot smell, taste or feel CO fumes, it is important to know the signs and have a CO detector.

Symptoms of CO poisoning

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are:

  • Grogginess
  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Weakness
  • Tightening of the chest

CO exposure can even make you pass out. People often describe the systems as flu-like.

Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. 

CO poisoning can kill you. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visits to the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

How to prevent CO poisoning

  • Ask a qualified professional, such as Service Legends, to inspect your home heating systems annually for proper operation and potential leakage.
  • If you have a wood or gas fireplace, ask for a professional to check and clean the chimney, flue or vent regularly.
  • Have fuel-burning appliances installed by a qualified professional to ensure that they are properly vented and operating as intended.
  • Never operate fuel-burning devices such as grills, motorcycles or generators indoors.

Carbon monoxide detectors

A CO detector provides an early warning if CO reaches a dangerous level. Your home should have at least one CO detector on every level. Install your CO detector in sleeping areas so you can hear if your detector alerts while you are sleeping.

If your CO detector alerts you to a problem, leave your home immediately and seek fresh air. If you or a family member feel sick, call 911 and seek medical attention. Contact a qualified technician to inspect the source of the CO buildup and make any necessary repairs.

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