When you live in New York, especially in an area that gets a lot of snow like Rochester, you know how important your heating system is. We can experience chilly temperatures in our area for several months, and most people rely on their furnaces or boilers to stay warm.
While you can help your heating equipment run effectively, efficiently, and safely by getting it the annual maintenance it needs, unfortunately, when any combustion is involved in the heating process it can lead to carbon monoxide, or CO, emissions. CO gas is colorless and odorless, and it can cause serious illness and even death if it infiltrates the air in your home. That’s why it’s so important to safeguard our homes when it comes to CO, and one of the best ways we can do that is by installing carbon monoxide detectors.
What are the main causes of carbon monoxide in the home?
As we mentioned above, an improperly functioning heating system can create carbon monoxide. But there are other ways CO can get into your home as well:
- Fireplaces: If your fireplace is not properly vented, carbon monoxide can easily enter the living space in your home. It’s important to get your fireplace regularly maintained and cleaned, and only to use appropriate materials. You should never burn garbage or paper, or use accelerants, in your fireplace.
- Gas Appliances: Gas appliances like stoves, ovens, dryers, and water heaters can produce carbon monoxide, especially when they’re not functioning properly. Note: If the heat goes out in your home, do not use a gas stove to warm your house. Doing so is one of the main causes of CO poisoning each year according to Johns Hopkins Medicine.
- Idling Vehicles: When you leave your vehicle running, it produces carbon monoxide. Outdoors, it is fairly harmless, but an idling vehicle inside a garage or enclosure can produce enough CO to quickly become dangerous. Don’t allow your vehicle to run inside your garage, especially if it’s attached to your home.
What are some of the symptoms of CO poisoning?
While many of the symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to other illnesses, if you suspect there is a problem with carbon monoxide in your home, you should leave immediately and call 911. Some of the main symptoms include:
- Rapid heartbeat
- Difficulty breathing
How can I prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in my home?
The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is by taking measures to ensure that your fuel-burning equipment and appliances within the home are working properly and that any equipment you may use outside, such as gas grills or generators, are positioned safely away from the home. Annual maintenance from a qualified HVAC contractor like John Betlem is important to ensure that your heating system is operating properly. At John Betlem, we also strongly encourage homeowners to have at least one CO detector installed in their homes. A monitored carbon monoxide detector will alert you if high levels of this deadly gas are detected. Local building ordinances require the installation of carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Why take a chance on your family’s health and safety? Providing the protection your family needs against carbon monoxide is as simple as calling John Betlem. We provide quality carbon monoxide detectors and can install them for you. Give us a call at 585.271.8888 and we will be more than happy to help you with your CO detector needs.