Winter CO safety reminders
You probably know that carbon monoxide is dangerous. But, do you know what where it originates from? Or, what to do if you or a family member experiences signs of carbon monoxide poisoning?
We want everyone to always stay safe in your propane-powered North Carolina homes, and to do that, you will need to know some carbon monoxide basics: how to spot even the earliest signs of poisoning, how to deal with its symptoms, and how to prevent a buildup in your home.
About carbon monoxide
- Carbon monoxide (often referred to by its chemical formula “CO”) is a poisonous, odorless, and colorless gas produced when you burn propane, wood, oil, or any other kind of fuel. Exposure to high levels of CO can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in illness, disorientation, or worse in prolonged instances.
- Carbon monoxide usually accumulates inside an enclosed space due to poor ventilation or equipment malfunction. A blocked vent or flue, a damaged or poorly maintained heating system, or overuse of an unvented heating appliance can all cause a dangerous CO build-up in your home.
- More than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms with symptoms of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year – and nearly 40 percent of those visits come in the colder, winter months.
Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms
As previously noted, symptoms of CO poisoning worsen with increased exposure to the gas. Limited exposure can cause flu-like symptoms, including headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Moderate exposure can cause severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation. High exposure can lead to unconsciousness or cardiac arrest. It’s important to note this is especially dangerous for young children, in whom the spread of CO poisoning is more rapid.
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.
How to avoid CO dangers in your home
The good news is carbon monoxide poisoning is absolutely preventable with some sensible preparation and awareness. Here are five of the best ways to prevent CO dangers in your home:
- Get your heating equipment serviced every year. An expert will spot issues before they pose risks to your family.
- Install CO detectors on every floor of your home. Replace batteries once a year and replace the detector itself every five years.
- Keep outdoor exhaust vents clear. Blocked 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 start a vehicle indoors. Start your car with the garage door open, and never run it for more than a few minutes.
At LG Jordan, your safety is always our #1 priority! If you have any questions about propane safety or the safe operation of your propane equipment, contact us any time; if you think your propane equipment might not be working properly, contact us right away for professional propane maintenance or a propane equipment inspection.
LG Jordan Oil – serving Wake, Chatham, Durham, Harnett, Johnston, and Orange counties in North Carolina.