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Carbon Monoxide Safety Q&A

Carbon monoxide safety pennsylvania

If you have an appliance that burns fuel to produce energy – whether it is a water heater, furnace, boiler, fireplace, or cooking range – it emits at least some carbon monoxide (CO) as it runs.

If properly vented with functioning equipment, these emissions are harmless – but if CO accumulates in your home, it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning – a dangerous and possibly deadly threat.

Here’s what you need to know about carbon monoxide, its dangers, and how to prevent them.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel, including heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane, or natural gas.

What causes a build-up of CO?

A buildup of CO typically occurs due to improper ventilation or broken equipment. Some causes of CO buildup include operating unvented appliances for too long, a broken or improperly maintained heating system, a backdraft near the heating appliance, or a blocked flue or vent.

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

Symptoms of CO poisoning vary depending on the amount of exposure to the gas. Mild symptoms include flu-like headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness; moderate symptoms include severe headaches, drowsiness, confusion, and disorientation; extreme case symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, heart failure, and in rare cases death.

If you are experiencing CO poisoning symptoms,

  • Get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors, turn off fuel-burning appliances, and leave the house.
  • Call your fire department or 911 and report your symptoms to your doctor.
  • Service all your fuel-burning appliances before turning them back on.

What should I do if my CO alarm sounds?

Always assume your CO alarm is operating correctly! If it sounds,

  • Leave your home immediately.
  • Call your fire department or 911.
  • DO NOT reenter the premises until responders have given you permission.
  • If the source of the CO is determined to be a malfunctioning appliance, DO NOT use that appliance until a professional services the equipment.

How do I avoid problems with CO?

  • Maintain fuel-burning appliances ­every year.
  • Repair or replace poorly functioning appliances immediately.
  • Install CO detectors throughout your home, following the manufacturer’s instructions for placement, testing, and maintenance. If you have propane-fired equipment, install propane detectors, too.
  • Study the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning, and teach your family what to do if they experience them.

At Ace-Robbins, your safety is always our priority! If you have any questions about carbon monoxide safety, or believe that any of your equipment requires expert heating repair in southeastern PA, contact us today.