With the East Texas winter season quickly approaching, it’s time to conduct a comprehensive review of one of the season’s greatest dangers for many households – carbon monoxide poisoning (CO). Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal to children, adults, and pets. In fact, according to the Centers For Disease Control, more than 20,000 people visit the emergency room annually and over 400 Americans are killed every year as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Leaking furnaces or boilers are one of the most common causes of deadly carbon monoxide poisoning— every year without fail. CO poisoning is caused by breathing excessive carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas. When you inhale excess CO, it reduces your body’s ability to absorb oxygen. This leads to significant tissue damage and potentially to death.
KNOW THE SYMPTOMS:
Signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include:
- Blurred vision
- Chest pain
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
CO poisoning is especially dangerous for people who are sleeping or intoxicated.
KNOW THE SOURCE:
CO is produced by appliances and gas burning heating and air conditioning systems that generate combustion. A gas furnace can emit excessive carbon monoxide due to corrosion or malfunction of a system. Aging and corrosion can cause holes and cracks to form in the gas burner. This results in the dangerous release of CO and the potential for an explosion. Common sources of carbon monoxide include:
- Charcoal grills
- Cooking ranges
- Water heaters
- Portable generators
- Wood-burning stoves
- Car and truck engines
What Can You Do To Protect Yourself and Your Family?
At ETR we recommend a two-pronged approach that goes a long way towards preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home: install a home carbon monoxide monitor, and have an annual home inspection that includes the heating and AC systems, water heater, chimney, and other appliances.
First, install a carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near each sleeping area in your house, and one on each floor. Please give us a call if you would like more information or suggestions about the most effective placement in your home. The service experts at ETR suggest replacing your carbon monoxide detectors every five years and testing your carbon monoxide and fire detectors every month to ensure the batteries and alarm are functioning properly. Fall is an excellent time to check your CO and smoke detectors in your home and invest in a new one if necessary. If the alarm sounds, evacuate all members of the household and call 911.
Second, schedule annual HVAC maintenance of your heating and air conditioning system. The certified technicians at East Texas Refrigeration will inspect your furnace to make sure it is operating properly and inspect for carbon monoxide leaks. Annual service to the heating and air conditioning system will identify problems and provide the opportunity for furnace repair or replacement. We want to make sure your furnace is operating safely and efficiently throughout the upcoming cold season.
To keep your loved ones safe and warm through the cold season, call the heating and air conditioning service experts at East Texas Refrigeration today at (903) 581-3771 to schedule your Fall tune-up.
Because We Care About The Health and Safety of Your Family
We care about our customers and their families. In addition to installing CO detectors and scheduling an HVAC inspection, there are additional steps you can take to protect yourself and your loved ones from carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Appliances such as gas water heaters, gas cook stoves, wood heaters, and fireplaces should receive annual maintenance to keep them operating safely.
- Outdoor appliances such as a charcoal grill, camp stoves, and heaters should never be used indoors.
- Open the garage door before starting your car to allow CO to escape. The fumes can enter cracks and crevices of the home.
- Always use the vent hood when cooking on a gas stove to vent CO outside of the home.
- Use gas appliances as recommended – Never use a gas stove or oven to heat your home.
- Use fuel-burning indoor space heaters only when doors or windows are open to provide fresh air and monitor them when in use.
- Don’t run a generator in an enclosed space, such as the basement, garage or inside of your home.
- Maintain gas appliances and the fireplace – Ensure your gas appliances are properly vented.
- Have your fireplace chimney and flue professionally cleaned every year.
- Schedule inspections for all gas appliances by a professional repairman.