Carbon Monoxide Safety 101 For Your Home
If you have an appliance that burns fuel in your home, such as a furnace, boiler, water heater, fireplace, or any other device—it emits at least some carbon monoxide (CO) as it operates.
If your equipment is working correctly, and your home is properly vented, that carbon monoxide will never pose a problem. If you don’t and that carbon monoxide accumulates in your home, it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning—a dangerous and possibly deadly threat.
Here’s what you need to know about CO, including its dangers, and how to prevent them:
- Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas produced by burning any fuel, including heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane, or natural gas.
- A buildup of carbon monoxide typically occurs due to improper ventilation or broken equipment. Some common causes of a dangerous CO buildup include operating unvented appliances improperly or for too long, poor DIY equipment repairs, a backdraft near the heating appliance, or a blocked exhaust flue or vent.
- Although both oil and gas combustion produce carbon monoxide as exhaust, they differ in how they display when a build-up has begun. In a gas system, there is little visible display if too much carbon monoxide has accumulated, which is why it is critical to install CO detectors at every level of your home. If oil-burning equipment is not functioning properly, it will produce smoke and soot as a warning sign. If you see soot on your oil-burning equipment, contact us immediately for service.
- Symptoms of CO poisoning vary depending on the amount of exposure to the gas. Mild symptoms include flu-like headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness; moderate symptoms include severe headaches, drowsiness, confusion, and disorientation; extreme case symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, heart failure, and in rare cases death. If you are experiencing CO poisoning symptoms,
- Get fresh air immediately. Open windows and doors, turn off fuel-burning appliances, and leave the house.
- Call your fire department or 911 and report your symptoms to your doctor.
- Service all your fuel-burning appliances before turning them back on.
If Your CO Alarm Sounds
Always assume your CO alarm is operating correctly! If it sounds,
- Leave your home immediately
- Call your fire department or 911
- DO NOT re-enter the premises until responders have given you permission
- If the source of the CO is determined to be a malfunctioning appliance, DO NOT use that appliance until a licensed professional repairs the equipment
Four Keys To Avoiding CO Problems
- Maintain fuel-burning appliances every year
- Repair or replace poorly functioning appliances immediately
- Install CO detectors throughout your home, following the manufacturer’s instructions for placement, testing, and maintenance. If you have propane-fired equipment, install propane detectors, too.
- Study the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning, and teach your family what to do if they experience them.
At Dorr Oil, your safety is always our priority! If you have any questions about carbon monoxide safety, or believe that any of your appliances require expert heating equipment repair in Greater Manchester, Vermont—contact us today.