Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas which is poisonous to humans and animals who breathe too much of it. CO poisoning symptoms range from the flu-like to severe, and can even be deadly. CO poisoning sends nearly 20,000 Americans to the ER annually. It kills around 400. Many of these fatalities occur while victims are sleeping, before they can notice symptoms or warning signs.
CO is produced by burning fuel. Dangerous leaks in the home can come from several sources, including kitchen appliances. Use these tips to safeguard your kitchen, and minimize the risk of CO leaks.
CO detectors save lives. Although house fires are a major source of CO poisoning, it’s not enough to just have a smoke detector, as CO leaks can be dangerous even without a fire. Some things to keep in mind:
Experts recommend calling in a technician to service your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, coal, or oil burning appliances annually. American Repair Service offers general appliance repair and services for an extensive range of brands and models. Ask to have an exam included with any other appliance repairs you have scheduled.
Check vents on appliances to make sure they aren’t blocked. Horizontal vent pipes, like those on water heaters, should tilt upward.
CO itself may be odorless, but sometimes strange odors can be a sign an appliance is damaged and prone to leaks. Be particularly cautious of strange smells coming from gas refrigerators.
Blocked chimneys can trap CO in the home. Have yours cleaned regularly.
If using a generator indoors, keep it within 20 feet of a vent, window, or door to avoid CO buildup.
Please, please leave the repairs to the professionals–and no, we’re not just saying that because we are the professionals. Vent pipe repairs are not the place to DIY with tape or anything else.
Concerned you may have a problem, or behind on having your CO producing appliances serviced?