The weather is getting colder, which means that more and more people are turning on their heaters. But, with the use of heaters comes the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) exposure and poisoning. Learn why the risk of carbon monoxide exposure increases during the winter months, how to recognize signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, and how Huge Heating & Cooling can help keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide this winter.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
The University of Utah defines CO as an “odorless, invisible gas that is produced when gasoline, natural gas, propane, kerosene, and other fuels are not completely burned during use.” Carbon monoxide can also be caused by
- Automobile exhaust
- Small gas engines
- Camp lanterns
- Charcoal grills
- Gas ranges
The University of Utah further asserts that carbon monoxide is essentially created when anything that is capable of producing it, including furnaces, are “improperly adjusted and used in poorly ventilated areas.”
Why Carbon Monoxide Exposure Risk Increases in the Winter
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “carbon monoxide (CO) exposures and poisonings occur more often during the fall and winter, when people are more likely to use gas furnaces and heaters.” Plus, in the winter, people tend to keep their windows closed, which limits the amount of fresh air they get inside their homes.
Why Carbon Monoxide is so Dangerous
According to Mayo Clinic, CO exposure is so dangerous because it can build up in your bloodstream. When you are exposed to too much CO, it actually replaces the oxygen in your body with it, which can lead to serious health issues, including death by asphyxiation.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to Mayo Clinic, signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning may include:
- Dull headache
- Nausea or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
If you think you or anyone in your household has been exposed to carbon monoxide, please call 911 right away.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The good news is that there are several things you can do to prevent exposure to CO in your home.
- Get a furnace tune-up.
One of the best things you can do to prevent CO from getting into your home is to have your furnace serviced by a technician at least once a year. Not only will a technician inspect your furnace for any issues, but they can also run a carbon monoxide test to ensure that your furnace is not producing this dangerous gas.
- Use CO monitors.
Ideally, you should have a CO monitor on every level of your home. If they are battery operated, make sure you check the batteries at least every six months.
- Don’t let snow build up near outside vents.
If you are in an area that gets heavy snowfall, make sure you clear off the snow that may be near any outside vents.
- Don’t run your car in an attached garage.
If you have a garage that is attached to your home, don’t let your car run while inside the garage. If you need to warm it up before you drive it, pull it out into the driveway.
- Make sure your fireplace vent is open.
If you have a fireplace, make sure the vent is open before you use it.
Huge Heating & Cooling Can Help Keep Your Family Safe This Winter
Huge Heating & Cooling can help keep your family safe this winter by inspecting your HVAC system as well as providing a furnace tune-up. Our furnace tune-up also includes a carbon monoxide test.
We are currently running a special promotion for our furnace tune-up service. Now, you can get one for only $99. Plus, we are also offering a FREE carbon monoxide/smoke detector to the first 100 clients that take advantage of our furnace tune-up special.
To learn more about our furnace inspection and tune-up services, give us a call at (440) 276-3058 or click here to request an appointment.