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Carbon Monoxide Symptoms

Reduce the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

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The Silent Killer - Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Colorless, odorless, tasteless and impossible for the human senses to detect, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in the United States. After house fires, malfunctioning gas furnaces and water heaters are the most common cause of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, confusion, disorientation, and

If your home uses a gas fueled furnace or gas powered appliances, they must be properly maintained to prevent the release of carbon monoxide. Here are some things you can do to reduce the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Change your air filter monthly. A clean air filter reduces the amount of dust your furnace collects and, consequently, allows it to run more efficiently. All furnaces produce some carbon monoxide which is should be carried out of your home through the furnace venting. The dirtier the furnace, the less efficiently it burns, increasing its production of carbon monoxide.

Have your gas furnace serviced annually by a licensed technician. An annual check-up should include a thorough inspection of the heat exchanger for cracks, holes, and leaks which can release carbon monixide into the air. The technician should also make sure that your furance was installed according to code, with the vent piping running through the roof to carry carbon monoxide away from your home.

Have a licensed technician clean rust from your burners and lubricate the motors and bearings as needed. The technician should advise you, following the annual inspection, whether this maintenance work is needed.

Keep the area around your furnace clear and unobstructed. Here in southeast Texas, where most homes do not have basements or crawl spaces, homeowners are tempted to cram as much stuff as they can into their attic. If you are using your attic for storage, keep the space around your furnace clear.

Do not store anything combustible near your furnace or within six-inches of your furnace's vent pipe.

Do not close off more than twenty-percent of the registers in your home. Closing off too many registers impedes the air flow through your central heating system. This can cause heat to build up in your furnace, increasing the risk of carbon monoxide and creating a fire hazard.

If you buy a carbon monoxide detector, install it at the top of a wall near the ceiling. Carbon monoxide rises.