How To Prevent Dangerous Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Your Home

Are you sure you’ve done everything to protect against CO poisoning?

Everyone deserves to feel secure in their own homes. However, are you sure your home is as safe as it should be? You might be surprised to find that missing this one device could be putting you and your family at significant risk.

Take a moment to think about all of the precautions that you have taken to make your home safe. You most likely have made sure that you have strong locks on your doors and perhaps even safety catches on your windows. You may have even installed a monitoring system or cameras to help protect against things like theft and vandalism, and you probably have a smoke detector or two. These are all great ways to create a safe and secure living environment, but are you positive that you’ve done everything you can to make sure your home is safe? 

Did you know that every year in the US, over 400 people die and over 10,000 people get sick, from something that you can’t see, hear, or smell? Plus, the even scarier part of this startling statistic is that this silent killer could be present in your own home. Do you know what it is?  

If you guessed carbon monoxide (CO) you are correct, and it is common to find it in homes with things like gas stoves, furnaces, gas space heaters, and even attached garages that can allow automobile exhaust into your home. The big problem is that this poisonous gas can’t be detected just by sight or smell alone, so if you are exposed to it, you may not know it until it is too late. 

Recently, during Thanksgiving of 2019, celebrity Anna Farris and members of her family were treated for carbon monoxide poisoning after starting to feel ill while at their vacation rental in Lake Tahoe. They were lucky; others are not as lucky, especially when they are exposed to this deadly gas while sleeping. In many of these cases, as in the case of the Lake Tahoe rental, homes do not have carbon monoxide detectors installed. 

Unfortunately, many of these deaths and illnesses could have been easily prevented, because installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home is simple and inexpensive. Many states have passed laws that require dwellings to have detectors installed, for example in Washington state, as of 2013, all dwellings are required to have carbon monoxide detectors. However, this doesn’t guarantee that everyone has listened, and even if they do, there is no assurance that they regularly test the detectors and make sure that they are working properly.

If you want your home to be as safe as possible, protection against carbon monoxide poisoning is essential. 

Make sure you’re protected by taking these precautions:

  • Install CO Detectors in Your HomeThere should be a battery-powered CO detector, like this top-rated option or this no-outlet required detector, on every floor of your home, in or near each sleeping area. There are also plug-in options like this one available that feature battery back-up. If all of your sleeping areas are connected by a common hallway, one detector in the hallway will work well. Make sure to regularly test your detector to see if it is working correctly and change the batteries every 6 months. If you don’t have a detector or need to get a replacement, now is a great time to snag one on sale!

  • Perform Regular Maintenance Checks — It is important to have any devices in your home that run on gas, oil, or coal serviced regularly by a licensed technician. This will ensure that these systems are in good working order and keep them operating at an optimal level. Many companies offer service contracts that set up annual appointments to check these devices. In addition to these annual check-ups, regularly check all ventilation lines and make sure that they are clear of any debris that could cause a blockage.

  • Be Smart When Using Gas-Powered Devices — Never underestimate the importance of common sense. Gas-powered pressure washers, generators, grills, and similar devices should never be run inside of your home or even outside if it is within 20 feet of an open window, door, or vent. The fumes and exhaust from these devices can introduce harmful carbon monoxide into your home. Likewise, never leave your car running inside of your garage or any other partially enclosed space. If you have the need to use certain devices indoors, use appliances powered by compressed air or electricity. 

Performing these steps are critical to a safe home. These simple acts could save a life; they could save your life. 

If you ever suspect that you or someone else may have CO poisoning, get outside in the fresh air immediately and call 911. 

Some possible signs of CO poisoning are:

  • Confusion
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest Pain
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness

Hopefully, this has inspired you to install CO detectors in your home if you have not already done so, and if you have detectors, you will take this opportunity to check them. Putting these practices into play today will help keep you and your loved ones safe for many tomorrows. For more great advice on how to create your happy home, check out our other blogs! We’re always here to provide you with resources and answers to all of your real estate questions!

 


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