The heating season is upon us again, and with furnaces firing up along with ovens baking holiday goodies the hidden danger of carbon monoxide (CO) in the home becomes greater. Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and can kill without warning. This silent killer is responsible for hundreds of deaths each year and thousands more are sickened by it. In the last week there was an incident in Duluth where a hockey arena was evacuated because players and coaches were becoming sick and it turned out they had elevated levels of CO in the blood. Another incident a few days later at the Duluth Goodwill prompted the fire department to check for CO but levels turned out to be insignificant. These are only a few instances where high CO levels have been suspected or confirmed to adversely affect human health.
CO poisoning symptoms include; mild nausea, mild headaches, and
shortness of breath at low levels, severe headaches, dizziness and
confusion at medium levels, and death at high levels. If you suspect CO then get out of the house and to fresh air immediately. Get medical help and tell them you suspect carbon monoxide, they can give you a blood test to check.
Many of us use portable generators as back-up in case of power failures. These generators often produce far more CO than a car due to the lack of pollution control devices. If you use a portable generator it should be at least 25 feet from the house and well away from any windows, doors, or air intakes. Never use a generator in an attached garage and never use a charcoal grill indoors. The EPA has an excellent site with information on carbon monoxide, please take some time and check it out.
A carbon monoxide detector is a great idea near bedrooms and is required in new homes but check the date of manufacture since they wear out over several years. I have equipment that can test your appliances and equipment for CO output so if you would like them checked please give me a call at 475-2027 or stop by my office at Trust Lands - 27 Store Road. Don't think that just because an appliance is new it won't produce CO, I have seen newer gas ranges that produce much more than older, cheaper stoves. When in doubt, check it out. it only takes a few minutes and it could save your life.