According to a 2012 report by the National Fire Protection Association, fire departments respond to an average of 72,000 carbon monoxide calls each year. Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is a colorless, odorless gas by-product of burnt fuel. It’s often linked to wood stoves, car engines, and other fire combustion sources such as gas or oil furnaces.
Why is CO awareness so important?
The short answer is that CO awareness is a matter of life and death. CO is tops when ranking leading reasons of accidental poisoning deaths in the US*, and conditions of CO poisoning is often confused as the flu, viral infections and continuous fatigue, among many others. This makes CO poisoning an often hidden enemy that can be fatal over several years, or within just a few short hours. Acute poisoning takes place from breathing large concentrations of CO, but poisoning may also happen gradually over many months or years. Some indicators may include nausea, vomiting, flu-like symptoms, dizziness, and fatigue.
So what can you do?
- If you don’t have a CO detector in your home, get one right away. You can contact Sunbeam Service Experts to purchase one today.
- Existing CO detectors should be checked regularly (at least every 90 days). It's also a good idea to replace the detector every 3-5 years.
- If you experience or have experienced some of the symptoms cited above, ask your doctor to test for carbon monoxide poisoning and get a second opinion if necessary.
- Schedule routine gas furnace maintenance annually to ascertain no CO leaks are present at the onset of heating season.
- If your furnace is approaching the end of its useful life, think about a proactive home furnace replacement service and upgrade to a newer hvac system.
*emedicinehealth.com. Prevention information for Carbon Monoxide poisoning may be inaccurate or incomplete; none of these methods guarantee the prevention of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.