While carbon monoxide poisoning kills fewer than 1,000 people a year in the United States, it does send tens of thousands of people to the emergency room. Unborn babies, children, the elderly and individuals with chronic heart or lung diseases are particularly vulnerable. The sad thing is those deaths and visits could be easily prevented.  

What Causes Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless and colorless gas. It is produced when an appliance burns gas or other fossil fuels such as wood, charcoal, or propane. These appliances are designed to vent carbon monoxide out of your home. Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur if these appliances fail to vent the carbon monoxide.

What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

There are numerous symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning including:

If not treated promptly, carbon monoxide poisoning can lead to severe complications including:

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Because of everything outlined above, it is so important for you to take these simple steps to avoid CO poisoning in your home.

Install carbon monoxide detectors

In Illinois, homeowners, landlords, and building owners must install carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of rooms used for sleeping if the structure uses fossil fuels to cook, heat or product hot water, or if it is connected to an enclosed garage. Some tips:

Have your furnace and chimney inspected

Of all the reasons to have your furnace inspected, making sure it is not allowing CO to enter your home may be the most important. That can happen if the furnace’s heat exchanger – which is critical to making sure CO is vented outside the home – is damaged. An annual inspection will make sure the heat exchanger – as well as the rest of the unit – is functioning safely.

As far as the chimney, if you use your fireplace, you will want to make sure the fumes can escape safely.

Keep your vents clear

Check to see that nothing is blocking the vents for your fuel-burning appliances, including:

Be sure to especially check after heavy snow, which can clog the vents. Also, your local utility company may provide yearly inspections for your gas appliances.

Things to Not Do

Contact Ravinia Plumbing, Sewer, Heating & Electric for all of Your Home’s HVAC Needs

The technicians at Ravinia Plumbing care about your family’s health and want to prevent anyone from being exposed to carbon monoxide. Contact us today for all of your heating repair, maintenance, and installation needs, as well as to install CO detectors around your home.