Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Your Home?
What is carbon monoxide and why should you be concerned? Is carbon monoxide poisoning your home? First of all, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas and it is dangerous because it has no odor, color or taste making it impossible to detect with our senses. Common sources of carbon monoxide in your home come from furnaces, space heaters, gas cooking stoves, water heaters, clothes dryers, fireplaces, charcoal grills, wood stoves, lawn mowers, power generators, camp stoves, motor vehicles and power tools with internal combustion engines. Never, ever use a barbeque grill or portable gas generator indoors, and never heat your home using your oven!
Look for the following signs that may indicate carbon monoxide is poisoning your home:
- Streaks of soot around fuel-burning appliances
- Absence of an upward draft in your chimney
- Excess moisture found on windows, walls or other cold surfaces
- Excessive rusting on flue pipes, other pipe connections or appliance jacks
- Orange or yellow flames (they should be blue) in your combustion appliances
- Smoky smells – don’t assume your fire alarm works
- Fallen soot in fireplace
- Small amounts of water leaking from base of chimney vent or flue pipe
- Damaged or discolored bricks at the top of your chimney
- Rust on the portion of vent pipe visible from the outside
Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Low concentrations will give you a mild headache and breathlessness with mild exercise
- Continued exposure will give you flu like symptoms including more severe headache, dizziness, nausea
- Lethal concentrations will make you lose consciousness and be unable to escape (sometimes in as little as 10 minutes)
- It’s not the flu if you feel better when you are away from home or if several members of the household get sick at the same time (the flu is usually passed from person to person)
- Watch your pets – they seem to experience symptoms before you
How to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install CO detectors within 10 feet of every bedroom
So be diligent and look for these signs and you won’t have to ask: Is carbon monoxide poisoning your home?