Four Tips to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The problem with CO is that you can’t see it, smell it or taste it, but the good news is that you can take easy steps to keep your home and loved ones safe.

In sufficient quantities, carbon monoxide can sicken or kill anyone exposed. Young children and the elderly are particularly vulnerable. Symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness and other flu-like symptoms.

The only way to detect the gas in your home is with a CO detector. The biggest risk for poisoning comes when you’re asleep, so it is recommended to install detectors near sleeping areas.

Do the following to minimize their CO exposure risk:

  1. Check CO detectors’ batteries every month. Detectors typically come with a test button to make sure the batteries are still working. It’s also a good idea to replace the units every five years.
  2. Make sure heating units are well-maintained. Seasonal tune-ups performed to allow service experts to look for potential problems. They will make sure that vents, flues and chimneys are cleaned and getting proper airflow.
  3. Practice proper ventilation. Make sure any fuel-burning appliances are in well-ventilated spaces and never in enclosed areas. Never start your car without opening your garage door first.
  4. Don’t use outdoor products inside. Items such as generators and camping stoves should only be used outside. Also avoid using solvents such as paint and varnish remover indoors whenever possible, as these can release a chemical that can break down into carbon monoxide when inhaled.