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Protect Yourself Against Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Posted by David Ghiorso, CPA, February 6, 2018

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by automobiles, many home appliances, fireplaces, and more devices… And it can make you very sick, or even kill you. Every year, more than 20,000 Americans are sickened by carbon monoxide poisoning, and more than 400 wil die. How can you protect yourself from something you can’t even see or smell?

  • Install a carbon monoxide detector in your home, and check the batteries at least twice per year.
  • Ask a qualified service professional to check your heating system, water heater, and other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances each year. Ask this person to ensure that your gas appliances are vented properly.
  • Never patch vent pipes… Have them properly repaired.
  • Never use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
  • Don’t burn charcoal indoors.
  • Don’t use portable gas camp stoves indoors.
  • Never use a generator inside the home, in the basement, or within 20 feet of a window, door, or vent.
  • If you have a gas refrigerator, have it inspected immediately if you smell a strange odor radiating from it.
  • Only purchase gas equipment bearing the seal of a national testing agency.
  • Have chimneys inspected and cleaned annually.
  • Don’t run your vehicle in an enclosed garage.
  • Ask your mechanic to check your vehicle’s exhaust system each year.

Know the symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure. If you’re using your fireplace or any device which burns gasoline, natural gas, charcoal, take notice of the following symptoms:

  • headache
  • dizziness
  • weakness
  • confusion
  • upset stomach
  • vomiting
  • chest pain
  • a “flu-like” feeling

If you’re sleeping or intoxicated, you can die from carbon monoxide poisoning without ever noticing these symptoms. Take special care to use a carbon monoxide detector in your home, placed near your bedroom so that the alarm will wake you up.

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