As the days grow colder and windows begin to close, we turn to our trusted appliances to keep us warm through the long winter nights. However, it is important to keep informed of their condition because of a silent but deadly killer that effects hundreds of Americans every year: Carbon Monoxide Gas. Carbon monoxide is a byproduct from gas and wood-fired appliances such as water heaters, furnaces, stoves, and fireplaces that can cause flu-like symptoms including shortness of breath, dizziness, light-headedness or headaches. If allowed to build indoors, the gas can cause severe injury or even death, so it is essential to service and maintain appliances on a regular basis. If you suspect carbon monoxide gas present, evacuate immediately and contact your emergency care provider.
During an emergency, thank goodness for gas-powered generators. However, be advised that these, like your other appliances, omit CO and must be kept a safe distance from doors and windows. According to the CDC, half of the non-fatal carbon monoxide poisoning events in 2004 and 2005 were caused by generators being placed within seven feet of the house. While some companies recommend generators stay 10 feet away from any open windows or doors, it is safest to maintain at least 15-20 feet of space to keep carbon monoxide at bay.
Applied safely, a well-maintained ventilation system safely removes the gas from the home, but it is essential to schedule regular inspections with your National Property Inspections Professional. He or she will examine the home for any leaks caused by backdrafting, a problem that occurs when insufficient air is available to carry carbon byproducts out of the vents and is dumped back into the home. This can be caused by installation error, certain weather conditions and location of certain appliances. They will also evaluate the state of any heating equipment, fireplace and built-in appliances to ensure another season of safety and warmth for you and your loved ones.
This season ensure the safety and comfort of your family by keeping all appliances properly adjusted by professionals, keep at least one CO alarm in the home, remember to open flues when the fireplace is in use, and remember to regularly hire a trained professional to inspect, clean and tune-up your heating system. National Property Inspections is ready and willing to be your safe energy partner for the seasons to come.