Thursday, February 18 2010
The middle of the winter is prime time for carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure your appliances and heating system are operating safely.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas that is formed when carbon-based fuels, such as kerosene, gasoline, propane, natural gas, oil, charcoal or wood, are burned with inadequate amounts of oxygen, creating a condition known as incomplete combustion. When incomplete combustion occurs, carbon monoxide is produced, and this can potentially lead to carbon-monoxide poisoning to a family.
The early stages of carbon-monoxide poisoning produce unexplained flu-like symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and mental confusion. Since carbon monoxide displaces the oxygen in the blood, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to death by asphyxiation.
According to the Southern California Gas Co., these signs may indicate the presence of carbon monoxide:
What to do if someone suspects carbon monoxide is present in their home:
How to maintain and use gas appliances safely and efficiently:
Carbon-monoxide alarms may provide an extra measure of safety, but they also require routine maintenance such as battery replacement and the unit itself must be replaced periodically per manufacturer’s instructions. Even with alarms in place, regular gas appliance maintenance still is required.
Inspection and routine maintenance are still the best defense against accidental carbon-monoxide poisoning from natural gas appliances.
Source: Southern California Gas Co. http://www.houselogic.com/news/articles/safety-tips-prevent-carbon-monoxide-poisoning/