How to protect your home against carbon monoxide poisoning
It could be carbon monoxide, a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas that can spread through your home and cause harm to you or your loved ones. But before you panic and put on a hazmat suit, we’re here with the information you need to know about keeping your home safe.
What is carbon monoxide poisoning?
You might not even know what carbon monoxide poisoning is (unless you're a chemistry wizard), so we’ll lay out the basics for you. This occurs when there’s a build-up of carbon monoxide (CO) in your blood. When there’s more CO in the air than oxygen, our bodies use that CO to replace the oxygen in our red blood cells.
Knowing some helpful tips on how to stay on top of CO poisoning and how to prevent it can help protect you and your family.
Why you should get a detector
An easy way to keep carbon monoxide under control is to get a detector. It’s good to have at least one on each floor of your home. This way, you can try and have equal amounts of detection on each floor to keep you safer overall.
As far as what kind of detector you should have, a battery-operated one is usually a better option than plug-ins because if you lose power, it may not alert you when it should. The last thing you’d want on a stormy night is to lose power and have to worry about there being carbon monoxide in your home without you knowing.
What are some common sources of carbon monoxide in homes?
Now, let’s get to the source of the problem (literally, let’s talk about where this carbon monoxide might be coming from). There are many common household items that can produce this gas; here are a few to watch out for.
- Fuel-burning appliances: This can include appliances such as gas stoves, gas water heaters and even gas clothes dryers. Getting these checked by a professional as instructed can help make sure they are running properly.
- Fireplaces & woodstoves: It’s important to have caution when using wood-burning appliances inside your home. Like other appliances, keeping up to date with inspections and maintenance on these can avoid the emission of CO. It is also good practice to ensure your flue is open while using these appliances so you aren’t holding in any unwanted gasses.
- Space heaters: We know, especially on a cold winter day, these can be real lifesavers, but make sure you have an eye on them. It’s important that you allow the heater to vent properly and that it’s checked professionally.
- Cars and other vehicles: It can be easy to start your car while inside and then get sidetracked on your phone, but this could be causing some CO build-up. Don’t leave your vehicle running in an enclosed space; this could cause CO to build up in your home, even if the door is open.
- Generators: These can come in handy when your power goes out right as you’re watching an intense football game. Although a portable generator would be more convenient, it’s important that your generator isn’t inside. Follow the instructions for proper distancing from your home and proper ventilation.
- Grills: Even if it’s the big 4th of July barbecue and you just got a new grill worth showing off, make sure you leave it outside. Trust us, grilling inside isn’t a good idea (for many reasons) and could cause a build-up of CO in your home.
- Boats: We bet you didn’t expect to see this one on our list, but it’s true! Much like other vehicles, boats can produce CO as well, so it’s something to keep in mind. Staying on top of maintenance and even getting a CO detector for your boat can prevent your fun in the sun from being cut short.
What to do if carbon monoxide is detected in your home
After all this talk of carbon monoxide prevention, let’s dive into what you should do if carbon monoxide IS detected in your home.
Your detector’s alarm should go off if CO is detected somewhere in your home. If this happens, there are two steps you should take:
- Leave your house immediately
- Call 911
These two steps will get you and your family away from the possible threat and get help on the way quickly. Waiting outside is a great option, especially with all the fresh air; however, if it’s cold outside, waiting at a neighbor's house or in your car can be a good option, too (another reminder not to sit in the car in an enclosed space).
We’re detecting a happy home ahead
When moving into your new home or loving your existing one, you shouldn’t have to stress about things like carbon monoxide poisoning. Taking some extra steps to make sure you have detectors in place and are knowledgeable about potential risk factors can make for a happier and safer home.
If you’re looking for more information on how to keep your home safer and in tip-top shape, click here to help keep everything under control.