Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, colorless gas produced as the byproduct of combustion. When your furnace burns fuel oil or natural gas to produce heat, it also produces carbon monoxide. This harmful gas is usually vented safely away to the outdoors, but HVAC system problems can allow CO to enter your living spaces. When this happens, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur.
Carbon monoxide is extremely harmful to health and safety. Even small amounts can cause serious physical problems, and in the right concentration, carbon monoxide can kill. Since CO cannot be detected by human senses, there is no way for a person to know it is present. The majority of carbon monoxide-related deaths occur when people are exposed to the gas in their sleep. You can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by:
- Knowing the symptoms: The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headaches, fatigue, and nausea. More extreme symptoms include convulsions and unconsciousness. CO poisoning can also make your face and lips look flushed or very red. If you suddenly or unexpectedly develop any of these symptoms, see your doctor and test your home for CO.
- Installing carbon monoxide detectors: These devices are similar to smoke alarms, but are designed to detect carbon monoxide. When they sense a concentration of this gas in your home, the alarm sounds, alerting you to danger. CO detectors should be installed throughout your home–one outside each bedroom and one on each end of each story of your home.
- Maintaining your HVAC system: Proper preventive maintenance will keep your oil and gas-burning heating systems working correctly and prevent CO leaks. Regular inspections allow a professional to check the equipment’s condition and test for the presence of CO. Your HVAC pro can ensure that flues and chimneys are in good condition to vent CO out of your home.
Davis Air Conditioning has served the Texas communities of Houston, Galveston, Brazoria, and Sugar Land for more than forty years. Contact us today for more information on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning and what to do to eliminate this threat in your Texas home.
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