Well, it feels like winter has finally arrived and we are in for some chilly days and nights in New Mexico. We all will be cranking up the heat to keep our families warm this winter. With these colder temperatures, we thought now would be a good time to remind parents about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to keep their family not just warm, but safe.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a gas in your home’s heating system.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that is a byproduct of the combustion process when fuel is burned. This gas is vented to the outdoors where it can be safely dispersed. It is common in gas appliances used to heat your home and other appliances like:
- Water Heaters
- Clothes Dryers
- Wood or Pellet Stoves
- Space Heaters
Protecting Your Family From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Because carbon monoxide exists in gas-burning appliances and has no odor, it is very important to have your gas appliances inspected each year for carbon monoxide leaks. This is an important step in helping to keep your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Get a furnace inspection – Have a professional HVAC company like TLC inspect and service your furnace each fall. TLC will perform a carbon monoxide test as part of the inspection. The test looks for high levels of carbon monoxide coming out of the furnace. This is the only way to know if your furnace is leaking carbon monoxide.
Get your chimney cleaned each year – If you have a fireplace or wood/pellet stove, make sure you have the chimney cleaned each year by a professional. A dirty, clogged chimney will reduce airflow and allow carbon monoxide levels to build up in the home.
Install carbon monoxide detectors – One of the most important things you can do is install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Remember, there is no smell, taste, or color from carbon monoxide.
Know the Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
When carbon monoxide levels rise, they quickly cause these symptoms: headaches and confusion, dizziness, and nausea.
If you experience these symptoms, you should immediately shut off the gas appliances and go outside. You need to get fresh air immediately.
What to Do if You Think You Have Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Immediately shut off the gas appliance and go outside. You need fresh air right away! Even if it is in the middle of the night, go outside to get fresh air. The New Mexico Gas Company advises you call 911 or the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. They will be able to advise you if you need medical attention. They are open 24 hours a day.
What to Do if Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off you should open windows, shut off gas appliances, and immediately go outside, even if this goes off in the middle of the night. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous and can be deadly.
Each year, approximately 400 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning, so it is very important you know what symptoms to watch for.
If you have any other concerns or questions about carbon monoxide in your furnace or water heater, please call TLC Plumbing to have your equipment inspected. Our trained experts will test your equipment for leaks.
Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector
One of the best ways to protect your family is to install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. CO detectors should be installed in areas where carbon monoxide levels can be high, either towards the ceilings or near the ground. Detectors can be found at most home improvement stores. Also be sure to place the detector in an area of your home that you will hear if the detector goes off while you’re sleeping. TLC does not recommend installing detectors where there is a lot of airflow because they might not pick up accurate levels of carbon monoxide.
If you are concerned about carbon monoxide in your home, TLC is here for you. Contact us today to schedule a service visit and learn about our available carbon monoxide detectors or send us a question.