The heating season has arrived and with it comes the increased danger of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. On average it kills more than 400 people every year in this country. The month of November is #CarbonMonoxideAwarenessMonth. We’re using this opportunity to talk about carbon monoxide safety. Let’s start by reminding you that any fuel-burning device has the potential to kill you if the circumstances are right, but for the purposes of this blog we will deal with some of the most common causes of CO poisoning.
Yes, you are right, power outages don’t cause carbon monoxide poisoning, but what people do in response to an outage does. The first thing a homeowner will do is fire up the generator, but too often the generator is running in the garage or very near a window that is open to run extension cords into the house. Those situations can quickly ruin the indoor air quality and create dangerous levels of CO gas.
If there is no generator what’s the next thing people do during a winter power outage? They try to get some heat in the home by using fuel-burning devices not designed for indoor use. Unvented propane and oil-fired space heaters are dangerous when used in a tightly sealed home.
Whether propane or charcoal, grills pose a carbon monoxide safety risk. No matter how bad the elements are outside, NEVER move your grill into the basement or any other enclosed area to do your cooking. We didn’t include grills in the first section because common sense should tell you this. Do not use a propane or charcoal grill as a source of heat in your home during a power outage, no matter how desperate the situation seems.
We all know cigarette smoke can ruin your indoor air quality with all the chemicals and carcinogens, but it can also raise the level of CO gas in your Roaring Fork or Vail Valley home. If there are multiple smokers in a confined area the level of carbon monoxide can increase rapidly. Besides, it’s just not a good idea to smoke in the house. The health risks of second-hand smoke have been clearly established.
In this day and age of key fobs and remote starting, it’s very easy to accidentally leave a vehicle running in an attached garage. The skeptics among you are likely asking, “How could this happen?” Well, how many headlines did you see during the summer about children who died because they were left in a hot car? Things like this do happen. A running vehicle in a garage can quickly fill the home with deadly levels of CO gas. Remember, you can’t see it, smell it, or taste it.
It can happen anywhere
It’s human nature that people get complacent about carbon monoxide safety. They don’t believe it will ever happen to them. The truth is, it can and does happen in our backyard. Read about an incident in Vail that sent five people to the hospital. This time they were lucky and no one died.
Let’s use #CarbonMonoxideAwarenessMonth to make sure your home is safe from this silent killer. If you have any concerns or need help, please call Climate Control Company. Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter for more great information like this.