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How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Leaks in Your Home

Written on: October 11, 2021

Protect Your Family from CO Poisoning

carbon monoxide info new yorkYou’re probably aware that carbon monoxide is dangerous. The best way to protect yourself and your loved ones is to understand how to prevent the build-up of this potentially deadly gas in your Hudson Valley home and what to do if anyone in your household experiences signs of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Here’s what you need to know.

Carbon monoxide (also known by its chemical formula, “CO”) is an odorless, colorless gas that’s produced when you burn any fuel, including propane, wood, coal, and heating oil. With proper venting and maintenance, carbon monoxide gas will not build up and it is very safe. But when the gas is allowed to accumulate, exposure to CO can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning, which can result in illness, disorientation, or, in extreme cases, death.

Carbon monoxide usually accumulates due to poor ventilation or faulty equipment. A blocked vent or flue, a damaged or poorly maintained heating system, or overuse of an unvented heating appliance can all cause a dangerous carbon monoxide build-up in your home.

Know the Signs of CO poisoning

More than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms with symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning each year. Know the signs and act quickly: Symptoms of CO poisoning get worse as exposure to the gas increases. In cases of limited or early exposure, flu-like symptoms are common. Continued exposure leads to severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation, while high exposure can lead to unconsciousness, cardiac arrest, and death.

If you notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning:

5 Ways to Protect Your Family from CO Poisoning

Here’s how you can prevent carbon monoxide from building up in your home, and protect your family: 

  1. Don’t skip your tune-up. Annual maintenance makes sure your equipment is running correctly, and safely. Our expert technicians will spot and fix issues before they pose risks to your family.
  2. Be alarmed. Install CO detectors on every floor of your home. Replace batteries once a year and replace the detector itself every five years.
  3. Clear your vents. Blocked exhaust vents can cause a dangerous buildup inside your home. Be sure to clear exhaust vents, flues, and other lines from debris and snow after all storms. Using a broom rather than a shovel will prevent damage your equipment.
  4. Keep an eye on your pets. Animals can be victims of CO poisoning too—and they won’t ignore symptoms or brush them off like people do. If your pet seems sick or unusually slow to awaken, take him or her outside, open windows, and check your CO detectors.
  5. Never use outdoor equipment indoors. Barbecue grills, portable generators, and outdoor space heaters are not equipped for indoor use; they don’t have the hardware to safely vent carbon monoxide. 

At Downey Energy, your safety is our top priority. Contact us any time with any questions about carbon monoxide safety.