Knightdale, NC, January 2012 - Weather Master, a local heating, cooling and air quality company, wants to ensure that the public is aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide gas, which is produced in furnaces and can be deadly if not ventilated outside.
According to the CDC, the United States averages about 500 carbon monoxide fatalities each year and the greatest number of these are in January.
“Since furnaces run constantly during the cold months, this is the time of year when we want people to be thinking about whether their furnace is properly ventilated and the carbon monoxide is not trapped in the home,” says Lee Hill, Vice-President of Weather Master.
Any appliance that runs on combustion, such as gas or oil furnaces, gas clothes dryers, gas ovens, gas water heaters, wood burning stoves, and fireplaces, will produce CO. When an appliance is functioning correctly and is ventilated properly, carbon monoxide is not an issue. “However, all furnaces should be checked annually by a qualified professional to ensure that they are not malfunctioning or releasing carbon monoxide indoors,” states Hill.
As a back-up to yearly maintenance, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends a CO alarm outside each sleeping area in every home.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless and colorless; its danger lies in how difficult it is to detect, even at fatal levels. When inhaled, it replaces the oxygen in your body and accumulates rapidly in blood. Symptoms of CO poisoning are similar to those of the flu but without the fever: dizziness, headaches, nausea, and fatigue. Severe CO poisoning will include vomiting, unconsciousness, brain damage, and eventually death.
If you or anyone in your home displays these symptoms and you suspect CO poisoning, the first thing you should do is turn off all combustion appliances and get out of the house. If you start to feel better with fresh air, see a doctor immediately and tell him or her that you suspect CO poisoning; they’ll do a blood test to confirm.
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