As winter sweeps across the country, carbon monoxide becomes a main concern for many people. The odorless, colorless gas can be fatal.
The Centers for Disease Control estimates that carbon monoxide poisoning kills over 400 people annually. The best defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install an audible alarm that will sound if dangerous levels of carbon monoxide are present.
Why carbon monoxide happens
When snow is allowed to build up around these areas, it can become compacted and freeze. This can cause damage that interferes with proper operation of the natural gas meter and gas appliances such as furnaces or water heaters.
Keep air flowing properly by removing snow by hand rather than using a shovel or power snow removal equipment.
While most gas appliance fresh air intake and exhaust pipes are located on the sides of buildings, in manufactured or mobile homes they are often located on the roof.
Prevent carbon monoxide
- Install carbon monoxide detectors near the furnace and your bedrooms. Buy one recommended by Consumer Reports or one with an Underwriters Laboratory “UL” mark that also says “Single Station Carbon Monoxide Alarm” and has an audible alarm. If the detector sounds leave your home immediately and call 911.
- Get your HVAC, gas appliances, water heater and any other gas, oil or coal burning apoliances serviced every year, as wel. Leaking natural gas can cause your house to explode.
- Don’t run cars in the garage with the garage door shut — more people die from carbon monoxide poisoning from idling cars than from furnaces, the CDC says..
- Don’t use a generator, charcoal grill, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning device inside your home, basement, or garage or near a window.
- Don’t burn anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t vented.