Warning! What You Need To Know About Home Heating and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

With Thanksgiving under our belt and Christmas only a few short weeks away, we understand that Carbon Monoxide poisoning is not usually top of mind during a normal week, let alone during the holidays. However, we think it is important to review safety tips, symptoms and CO facts at least once a year. These basic tips could help protect and save your family.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is an odorless, colorless gas that can cause death if left undetected. Symptoms can include headaches, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Sometimes, Carbon Monoxide poisoning can feel very “flu-like” and if inhaled too much, can make you pass out or lead to death. While everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, the elderly, infants, people with chronic heart disease, or breathing problems are more likely to be affected.

  1. Annual HVAC check up
    When we do our annual “Clean and Check” we test for Carbon Monoxide leaks in your heating system and recommend a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector to monitor your home 24 hours a day. You should also have your gas water heater, gas stove, fireplace, wood burning stove or other gas powered appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  2. Check your venting
    Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes on a water heater should angle up slightly as they go towards the outdoors. This angle prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
  3. Check your chimney
    Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year to remove any debris that may be blocking airflow. This blockage can make CO build up in your home.
  4. Proper use of appliances and equipment
    – Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
    – Always use the range hood exhaust fan when cooking to pull the gas out of the house.
    – Do not run or use portable generators, camp stoves, charcoal grills or fuel-burning lanterns inside your home, garage or basement.
    – Do not place portable generators near open doors and windows.

With a little bit of prevention and yearly maintenance on your appliances, chimney, furnace and other gas powered equipment, Carbon Monoxide poisoning is entirely preventable. Let us know if you have any questions or concerns with your heating system. We are here to help!