Carbon monoxide dangers can happen anytime in your home. However, winter definitely increases your exposure to carbon monoxide dangers. Carbon monoxide can be very dangerous so learning the sources and warning signs can help keep your family safe this winter.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide(CO) is an odorless, colorless, tasteless gas that can be poisonous and deadly. CO symptoms can happen suddenly and cause headaches, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness or nausea. Because you cannot smell or taste it you may not know it is present in the air until you start having these symptoms. Symptoms may vary from person to person. CO poisoning can be reversed if caught in time. However, it can also cause permanent damage and can be fatal.
Where does carbon monoxide come from?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process when fuel is burned. It is common in the following home appliances:
- Gas Furnaces
- Gas Clothes Dryer
- Gas Stoves
- Gas Water Heaters
- Fireplaces, Wood and Pellet Burning Stoves
- Space Heaters
- any other fuel using appliance not listed above
Protecting your family from carbon monoxide.
When carbon monoxide levels rise they can cause symptoms to come on quickly. Causing headaches and confusion. If you ever feel dizzy or nauseated and suspect carbon monoxide open windows or go outside immediately. Carbon monoxide poisoning is very dangerous at night when you’re sleeping because you may not feel the symptoms. Taking the proper precautions below can help keep your family safe and warm:
- Install carbon monoxide detectors – Carbon monoxide detectors can be installed anywhere in your home to warn you like a smoke detector if it detects levels of CO in the air.
- Get your gas burning equipment checked – Have a professional inspect and service your furnace each year. Most professionals will conduct a Carbon Monoxide Test as a part of their inspection. A professional carbon monoxide test will detect if the gas furnace is leaking carbon monoxide at abnormal rates that could be dangerous if left uncheck. If there are any dangerous CO levels emitted from the appliance the technician will shut down the unit until it can be repaired.
- Get your chimney cleaned annually – Get your chimney cleaned by a professional each year prior to winter for your fireplace or wood/pellet burning stove. A blocked chimney can cause CO to build up in your home.
- Call the gas company – If you smell gas open windows and get to a ventilated area. Call New Mexico Gas Company. They will send someone to your home to find the source of the problem.
What to do if you suspect carbon monoxide problem.
If you experience carbon monoxide symptoms – Turn off the gas appliance and leave the building immediately. You need to get to fresh air immediately. New Mexico Gas Company advises you to call the Poison Control Center at 800-222-1222. They will be able to advise you if you need medical attention. They are open 24 hours a day.
If your Carbon Monoxide detector goes off – Again turn off the gas appliance in your home, open windows, doors, and leave the home immediately. Call the New Mexico Gas Company at 888-NM-GAS-CO (888-664-2726).
Be sure that a qualified technician has fixed the problem and ensured it is safe to enter your home before you re-enter.