Carbon Monoxide: Are You at Risk?

Hundreds of people will die this year from carbon monoxide poisoning in the home, says the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). Carbon monoxide comes from the combustion of any fuel. Should you be concerned?

The danger depends to a large extent on which fuels you use in your home. Use the guide below to understand the dangers and prevent any problems.

What Is It?
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas. It is poisonous if inhaled for extended periods.
Many mistake carbon monoxide poisoning for a cold or the flu.
Warning signs include:
- Headaches
- Dizziness
- Nausea
- Coughing
- Irregular breathing

Oil
There's no cause for alarm. Properly tuned and installed, home oil equipment produces insignificant amounts of carbon monoxide. And if an oil burner is so out of tune as to produce higher levels of the gas, it normally produces smoke as a clear warning.
Prevention:
- Have your system checked and tuned annually;
- Have your chimney inspected every few years. You can call us for advice before you take any action.

Gas
Unfortunately, gas burners provide no warning of carbon monoxide danger. Therefore, toxic levels can be reached without your knowledge. That's part of the reason gas-fueled appliances cause more carbon monoxide deaths than do other combustion appliances.
Gas users should:
- Have their chimney and flue checked for deterioration and obstructions each year, and cleaned as necessary;
- Have their heating equipment or water heating unit safety-checked annually;
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.

Other Sources
Wood smoke contains large concentrations of carbon monoxide. In addition, its smoke will cause sooty creosote to build up in your chimney, increasing chances of blockage.
- Have chimney obstructions removed regularly. Make sure the fire is completely out before closing the damper.
- If you must use a kerosene or propane auxiliary heater in an emergency, make sure the room it occupies is very well ventilated.
- Do not burn charcoal in your home or in a confined area.

If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to give us a call. 732.566.0821


©2008 Spragues Oil Service, Inc. All rights reserved.

 

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