Floridians don’t get too much use out of their home heating systems. However, at the first sign of temperature drop, many of us are quick to light up the fireplace, break out the space heaters and flip the thermostat switch to heat. While the toasty air inside your home may feel comfortable, it could be harming you and your family if carbon monoxide is present. The key to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning is preventing exposure in the first place. Here’s a guide to keeping your family safe from the dangerous gas.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
A colorless, odorless, tasteless gas, carbon monoxide can be sneaky. It is usually formed through the incomplete burning of fuels, such as coal, wood, charcoal, oil, kerosene, propane and natural gas.
Common sources of carbon monoxide include fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, space heaters, stoves, water heaters, fireplaces, motor vehicles and power generators. While home heating systems represent a small percentage of carbon monoxide sources, it is important to schedule regular indoor air quality visits to make sure your system is working properly and that your home is sufficiently ventilated.
Why is Carbon Monoxide Dangerous?
Exposure to carbon monoxide can result in seriousness illness, and in high quantities, death. Early symptoms include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Because symptoms are similar to those caused by common illnesses, such as the flu, carbon monoxide poisoning can be hard to detect.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Exposure in Your Home
- Have your heating system, as well any gas, oil or coal burning appliances serviced by qualified technician each year. Technicians should check that everything is working properly and that your home’s vents and chimneys are free from obstruction.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These devices, which work similarly to smoke detectors, sound an alarm when a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected.
- If your home’s heating system is not working, do not use a gas range or oven, a power generator, or any chemical burning heater to warm up your house. Call a technician immediately to have your heating system repaired.
Have Your Home’s Heating System Checked
Even in small amounts, exposure to carbon monoxide can lead to serious health issues. If you have not had your heating system looked at recently, schedule a visit from an Engineered Air technician as soon as possible. We’re here to keep your family comfortable and safe!