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Carbon Monoxide: The Invisible Killer

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the “Invisible Killer” because it is a colorless, odorless, toxic gas that results from the complete combustion of fuels. According to the US Consumer Product Safety Commission, more than 150 people in the United States die every year from accidental non-fire related CO poisoning associated with consumer products. With 64 fatalities in 2014, heating systems are among the top contributors. CO Poisoning is often caused by fuel burning appliances that are:

  • Faulty

  • Improperly used

  • Poorly maintained

  • Inadequate, incorrect, or faulty ventilation

Know the Symptoms

When carbon monoxide leaks into your home’s air, it can lead to serious health problems for your family. Symptom severity is related to both the CO level and the duration of exposure.

Low level exposure can feel like you have the flu without the fever. The initial symptoms include:

  • Headache

  • Fatigue

  • Nausea

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness

High level CO poisoning results in progressively more severe symptoms, including:

  • Mental confusion

  • Vomiting

  • Loss of muscle coordination

  • Loss of consciousness

  • Ultimately death

Protect your family from CO poisoning by following these safety steps:

  • Have all fuel burning home heating equipment and flues/vents inspected and serviced annually by qualified Service Technicians.

  • Install CO Detectors in hallways near each sleeping area.

  • Test your CO Detectors and replace the batteries every year.

  • Never operate a gas-powered generator in or near an enclosed space such as a garage, shed, or crawl space in your home.

  • Never use a charcoal grill in or near the house or garage.

  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home.

  • Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you suspect CO poisoning, get outside to fresh air immediately and call 911.

Helms Heating & Air Conditioning has served the home comfort needs of Charlotte and the surrounding areas since 1979. If you think you may have an issue with your furnace's ventilation system, schedule an inspection with a qualified Technician. If another licensed contractor has condemned your unit due to a cracked heat exchanger - give us a call and we will provide a FREE 2nd opinion to put your mind at ease.



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