While every modern home comes equipped with a fleet of fire detectors an often overlooked form of home safety is the carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is a potentially deadly gas that is odorless and colorless by nature. Carbon monoxide is the byproduct of incomplete combustion that can come from a wide range of household fixtures and appliances including: oil and gas heaters, stoves, gas water heaters, and generators. In the United States up to fifteen thousand people every year are treated at hospitals for carbon monoxide poisoning which results in an average of five hundred deaths per year. Luckily there are some simple precautions that can be taken to avoid risk and reduce you and your family’s chances of harm.
The most important and also the easiest way to prevent carbon monoxide buildup in your home or apartment is simply to install one or more carbon monoxide detectors. While twenty five states require carbon monoxide detectors in residential properties by law it should be your prerogative as a safe home owner to do so of your own volition. The placement of your carbon monoxide detector should be at eye level near any appliances that could malfunction and emit carbon monoxide (like your gas water heater).
Another simple precaution towards preventing carbon monoxide buildup in your home is to regularly service your fuel burning appliances in your home. In a recent survey twenty six percent of suburban households had not had their water heater serviced in the past twelve months. Regular maintenance will be able to catch leaks or malfunctioning equipment before it becomes too late.
It is also important to make sure that any stoves or fireplaces are properly ventilated in your home in order to prevent carbon monoxide buildup. While many of these tips may seem like common sense it is necessary to be extra careful to ensure the safety of yourself and your loved ones.
Lastly it is also important to recognize the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and be able to respond quickly and appropriately. The symptoms include:
- loss of consciousness
- shortness of breath
- loss of muscle control
- chest tightness
- blurred vision
If any of these symptoms should arise it is important to evacuate the house immediately and contact emergency services from a public telephone or a neighbor’s house.
With the above information and tips available waste no time in securing your home from the dangers of carbon monoxide buildup. Remember to be safe and take all of the necessary precautions for home safety.