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Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

CO poisoning and why HVAC maintenance matters

There are a few things scarier to a homeowner than the risk of CO poisoning (carbon monoxide)  . The experts often refer to carbon monoxide as “the silent killer” because it is odorless, colorless and virtually undetectable without sensitive equipment in place. One of the scariest aspects of carbon monoxide is that at very low levels, the effects it causes are often mistaken for the flu or other common illness–meaning leaks will go undetected and uncorrected. However, in higher doses or when the effects build up, it can cause fatal effects in both humans and animals.

Who Should Worry About Carbon Monoxide?

Anyone who has gas powered appliances in their home should be aware of the dangers. If you have gas running to your home for any reason, carbon monoxide should be on your radar. If this is the case, it is essential to take steps to assure that carbon monoxide poisoning doesn't become an issue for you. Even if you have a newer home, you could still face the danger if you do not take the proper precautions.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors – A Must Have Safety Device

One of the easiest ways to assure you are alerted of a CO leak is by installing a carbon monoxide detector, or multiple detectors, in your home. Most home improvement and big box department stores sell these devices, and a homeowner can put them in as a DIY project. Also, many heating and air companies offer installation services as well. If you do not currently have a detector, take steps to get one installed today–it could be the most important investment you ever make.

If you have a CO detector and it sounds an alert, turn off all possible sources of carbon monoxide immediately (furnace, water heater, dryer, etc.) and everyone, including pets, out of the home as soon as possible. Next, call a service technician to check your furnace and other devices to determine the cause of the leak. In most cases, when a professional corrects the problem and ventilates the home, you’ll be able to return right away.

Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, it doesn't mean you are 100% safe and protected. Because carbon monoxide detectors vary in quality, plus the sensors often become ineffective over time, it is vital to consider prevention methods as well.

Regular Maintenance on Gas Appliances is a Must.

Gas-fired appliances such as a furnace, boiler, water heater and even a dryer are popular in homes because they are often cheaper to run than electric appliances. These devices will usually function well and serve a home with no dangers. However, when you do not adequately maintain this equipment, you run the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning to the people and pets living in your home. Scheduling a routine maintenance check with McCullough is a good first step. Our technicians are trained to install and repair all makes and models of heating equipment–including gas-powered models. Our advanced training helps our technicians know what issues to look for including subtle clues of a more significant problem. By catching these concerns early, it not only protects your family from the dangers of CO, but it may also help you resolve small maintenance problems when the cost to fix is much less than it would be when the problem gets worse.

Signs of CO Poisoning

Even if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home and you maintain your equipment, it is a good idea to know the symptoms of CO poisoning too–just in case they ever present themselves. Common symptoms include:

  • Mild headache
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Disorientation or unexpected confusion
  • Blurred vision
  • Breathing difficulties
  • Loss of consciousness

As you can see, carbon monoxide poisoning is not something you want to fool around with or allow to become a risk to your family. If you would like more information about maintaining your system, or you would like assurance that you do not have a leak, reach out to us at McCullough Heating & Air Conditioning today. Our goal is to not only keep your system functioning well, but also to keep your family safe and sound.