Carbon Monoxide: Are You Protected?
Carbon monoxide kills.
It’s colourless, odorless, tasteless and extremely toxic. More than 50 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning in Canada alone, including an average of 11 in Ontario. Carbon monoxide protection is forgotten, and unfortunately, many Canadians are affected by this fatality in their own homes. Sadly, in many cases, it is while individuals are asleep during the night. Its deadly effects take over before you may even be aware of its presence. Statistics show that 88% of households containing something that poses a carbon monoxide threat. In other words, everyone is at risk!
Our biggest tip for you? Use a professional for all installations of fuel-burning systems. When you use a professional team such as ATN Mechanical, they will make sure that everything is installed correctly and according to Canadian standards. Taking this step will significantly decrease the risks of a botched DIY job, and the risks you place on your family and home.
Burning fuels like natural gas, proper, wood, oil and coal creates this poisonous gas. Some of the most common household sources include:
- Furnaces & Boilers
- Water Heaters
- Fireplaces (Gas & Wood Burning)
- Laundry Dryers
- Gas Stoves & Ovens
- Tobacco Smoke
- Vehicles (Gasoline)
A crucial part of carbon monoxide protection is the maintenance of these appliances and ventilation systems within. If they become damaged or blocked, carbon monoxide can build up and slowly leak into your home. Even the smallest amount puts you at risk for poisoning, generally before you even know its hit you.
Proper Installation of CO Alarms
It is a known fact that the only safe way to detect CO in your home is with a proper CO alarm. To begin, follow these steps to ensure maximum safety:
- All homes with at least one fuel-burning appliance, attached garage or wood stove should have carbon monoxide alarms in place.
- Ideally, we should be placing alarms on every level of the house and within close vicinity to sleeping areas in the home.
- Placement of the alarms should be approximately 15m from the fuel-burning appliance.
- Nothing should cause obstruction, or be covering the unit at any point in time.
- Do not place alarms by doors or windows.
- Test alarms weekly or monthly by merely pressing the test or reset button located on the CO alarm itself.
Warning Signs & Symptoms
This toxic gas creeps into the body through the lungs to replace the oxygen in your blood stream. It happens during your normal breathing process and as a result, prevents the flow of oxygen to vital organs such as your heart and brain. Therefore, CO poisoning is not a force to be wreckoned with.
With symptoms similar to the common flu, many refer to CO poisoning as the silent killer. In reality, the warning signs are easily missed and consequently, lead to unprecedented amounts of CO poisoning in Canada each year. Therefore, in regards to your safety, make a note of these common signs and symptoms that present at the various stages of intoxication.
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
In short, if you have symptoms that you think could be caused by carbon monoxide poisoning, leave the area right away. In addition, Call 911 or go to your closest emergency room – Don’t take any risks!
Carbon Monoxide Protection Tips
In this blog, we have gone over what carbon monoxide is, the warning signs and symptoms, proper installation of CO alarms and common sources within the home. However, here are a few more tips to add to your carbon monoxide protection plan:
Do you have an attached garage? Do not leave your car running inside. The exhaust of your vehicle is pumping out a variety of chemicals that create a fatal cocktail of fumes that quickly become concentrated. Even if the garage door is slightly open, fumes can still sneak into your home through doors and vents.
If you choose to install appliances on your own, be sure to install and operate according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Although, we do not suggest that you do so without the assistance of a professional.
Above all, remember to have all fuel-burning appliances serviced on a regular basis. While most people remember to maintain their furnace, other potentially dangerous threats such as gas stoves and fireplaces are neglected. Don’t wait, call your local HVAC company, like ATN Mechanical Systems Inc to schedule a service job for all fuel-burning fixtures.
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