Are you up-to-date on carbon monoxide leak prevention? If leaks do occur in your home or where you work, are you and everyone else prepared to take immediate action?
If not you should read on. Carbon monoxide leaks—and the dangerous poisoning they can cause—are not a threat to be taken lightly.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Wherever gas, oil or propane are used as fuel, the odorless, colorless gas known as carbon monoxide will be produced. Its presence in the environment around you is not necessary dangerous, unless it becomes concentrated above a certain level—which can happen if carbon monoxide collects indoors, where existing ventilation may not be able to dilute it effectively.
HVAC equipment such as furnaces and boilers fueled by gas or oil produce a significant amount of carbon monoxide, as do gas stoves and gas water heaters. All have built-in venting that is supposed to eliminate any health threat, but if the venting system leaks or otherwise malfunctions, cases of carbon monoxide poisoning could occur relatively quickly.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Exposure
The symptoms of excessive carbon monoxide exposure are a little different than other types of poisoning. Because it interferes with oxygen absorption carbon monoxide essentially smothers or chokes you into unconsciousness, so slowly you may not be aware of what is happening until it is too late.
As you gradually succumb to carbon monoxide poisoning, you may feel dizzy or drowsy, suffer from nausea, develop a headache, start to struggle with your breathing or find it increasingly difficult to focus. Death can result from continued exposure, so when these symptoms are experienced—and no other obvious cause is evident—you should leave the building immediately.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
If carbon monoxide is around you absolutely have to purchase and install one or more carbon monoxide detectors. A detector should be placed near every indoor appliance that could potentially develop a carbon monoxide leak, and each detector should be tested often to make sure it’s batteries are still providing adequate power.
It is important to recognize that carbon monoxide detectors occasionally miss small, steady leaks, so having them around does not offer 100 percent protection in every circumstance.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC equipment, gas stove or other appliances that use fossil fuels can help reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning substantially. HVAC technicians who specialize in repair and maintenance should be aware of the carbon monoxide risk and should be able to catch any signs that might indicate a leakage is imminent.
Carbon Monoxide Leak Plan of Action
Should a carbon monoxide detector go off in your home or business, or if people are showing clear signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, take the following steps:
- Evacuate the building in an orderly fashion, using pre-planned routes of escape.
- Instruct everyone to leave doors open and to open any windows they pass by on the way out.
- If you can gain access to gas or oil lines without coming too close to the suspected source of the leak, shut them off before leaving.
- If electric power is also being supplied to your gas- or oil-burning appliances cut it off at the circuit breaker.
- Call your HVAC contractor and/or your gas company to let them know you have a carbon monoxide emergency. They will know what to do.
- Call 911 if anyone is showing signs of grave illness.
- Steps three and four should only be attempted if you are certain it is safe to proceed. If you fear the situation is already out of hand just go and let the gas company take care of everything later.
Let Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning Help Keep You Safe
If you live in Bartlett or any other nearby community, please contact Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning about your HVAC system and its maintenance needs. Our trained technicians understand the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, and for your convenience we offer generous HVAC maintenance agreements that deliver thorough inspections, cleanings and tune-ups on a regular basis. This is your best antidote to the risk of carbon monoxide leakage, along with any other kind of breakdown that could cost you big money or big trouble if not caught in the early stages.
Please, call Bartlett Heating & Air Conditioning today to find out more about our top-notch professional HVAC maintenance services.