9 Oct 2006
Understanding Carbon Monoxide
The Leading Cause of ACCIDENTAL
POISONING DEATHS in America
Early symptoms include flu-like symptoms: fatique, weakness, dizziness, nausea, headaches.
Advanced symptoms include disorientation, unconsciousness, convulsions; permanent brain damage, mental and speech disorders, hearing impairment, coma and death.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas undetectable to human senses that is produced by any appliance that burns fuel: wood, pellet, gas, coal,kerosene, or oil.
Pets, children and the elderly are most susceptible, along with those suffering from diabetes, asthma and heart or respiratory problems.
Sources around the home
Carbon monoxide is produced when a fuel containing CARBON (oil, gas, wood, kerosene, coal, charcoal) is incompletely burned. Some sources around the home that you must keep in mind: automobiles parked in attached garages; room heaters (non-electric); fireplaces and stoves; kitchen ranges; outdoor cooking equipment like grills; oil or gas water heaters and dryers; kerosene lamps. Make sure this equipment is working properly and have your chimney and connector pipes checked regularly for cleanliness, soundness and for structural problems.
PREVENTION is the key to your safety from
*Make sure appliances are installed and working to manufacturer's instructions and local building codes.
*Have only a qualified technician install or convert fuel-burning equipment from one type to another.
*Have heating system, chimney and flue inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician every year. Check to see the chimney has a proper draft controlled condition which will ensure a proper vent for flue gases.
*Make sure there is good ventilation at all times. Keep a window partially open both at home and in the car.
*Do not use ovens and gas ranges to heat your home.
*Do not burn charcoal inside a home, cabin, RV or camper.
*Do not operate gasoline-powered engines in confined areas such as
garages or basements.
*Never leave your car or mower running in a closed garage.
*Make sure your furnace has adequate intake of outside air.
*Choose vented appliances whenever possible.
*Use kerosene space heaters and unvented gas heaters only in well
*Replace dirty air filters on your heating system.
*If you have a miss-match between a new high-efficiency furnace or water heater and old masonry chimney not designed for today's standards, have the chimney repaired or improved with properly sized and insulated (if needed) chimney liner.
LINKS to online sites and articles related to chimneys and heating equipment:
HOME ENERGY MAGAZINE article by Thomas Greiner outlining CO incident reports from chimneys and furnaces.
Noted website with links and information on Carbon Monoxide
From Underwriters Laboratories: