Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is made when fuel is burned.
CARBON MONOXIDE – WHAT IS IT AND WHO IS AT RISK?
Whether in Wichita, Kansas, in Salina, Kansas, in Hutchinson, Kansas, in Newton, Kansas, in McPherson, Kansas, or in Lyons, Kansas, the cold winter months have arrived. With this drop in temperature, it is important to be mindful of what has been labeled a “Silent Killer,” carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is made when fuel is burned. For example, carbon monoxide is found in fumes produced by wood, coal, gasoline, natural gas, or kerosene. The effects of carbon monoxide exposure can vary greatly depending on age, overall health, concentration of exposure, and length of exposure. That being said, everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, even pets, if they are exposed. But the good news is that it can be prevented in your home.
WHAT CAUSES CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?
Carbon monoxide poisoning in Hutchinson, Kansas, is caused by inhaling combustion fumes. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air you’re breathing, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This prevents oxygen from reaching your tissues and organs. Carbon monoxide symptoms are often described as “flu-like” and can be hard to diagnose. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
WHAT ARE THE MAIN CULPRITS OF CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING?
The major contributor to the build up of carbon monoxide gas in Hutchinson, Kansas, is from artificial heating produced by furnaces that have not been installed correctly or are not venting correctly. Other main culprits to increased carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning include, but are not limited to: gas stoves and ranges, gas clothes dryers, gas water heaters, wood-burning stoves, and portable fuel-burning space heaters.
HOW TO PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
Carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning can happen anytime during the year in Hutchinson, Kansas; yet it is important to note that most carbon monoxide exposures and poisonings happen in the winter. This is likely because with the cold weather there is an increased use of gas-powered furnaces and use of alternative heating sources in enclosed environments. But no matter what time of year it is, carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning can be prevented.
Some ways to prevent carbon monoxide exposure and poisoning:
- Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
- Keep vents and flues free of debris. Debris can block ventilation lines and cause a buildup of carbon monoxide gas, which will increase the amount of carbon monoxide exposure and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Vents and flues that are clear of debris will provide better ventilation of harmful gases from the home.
- Have an indoor air quality test performed by a qualified technician. An indoor air quality test can detect carbon monoxide in smaller quantities than carbon monoxide detectors.
- Place carbon monoxide detectors in central locations such as sleeping areas, every level of a home, and near garages. Having carbon monoxide detectors in these central locations will provide detection throughout your home.
- Use a battery-powered or battery back-up carbon monoxide detector. Check or change the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector every six months.
At FreshCo, we have inspectors qualified to perform many types of indoor air quality testing. We can both perform needed services and advise you on how to keep your home safer when we are not there. Give us a call today to see what we can do for you!
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— Pam B. in Hutchinson, Kansas