For homeowners and renters alike, the fall season inspires more time spent indoors. The days get shorter, darker, and colder making it difficult to spend several hours outside. The warm days of fun in the sun have passed, and now is the time to think about how to stay warm and what kind of delectable stew or casserole will be warming you up for dinner.
With all of the extra activity around your home comes more use of your appliances. If any of those appliances require natural gas, oil, wood, or propane for combustion – you should be aware of how to keep yourself and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a tasteless, odorless, and colorless gas that is emitted when propane, wood, oil, or natural gas are used for combustion. For instance, if your water heater uses gas to power the heating element, then carbon monoxide is produced. When the appliance is working properly, the carbon monoxide is not at levels that can be harmful. But, if the appliance is malfunctioning or, if the area around it is not properly ventilated, then the carbon monoxide will build up in the air and can become harmful – possibly lethal.
Make sure that you follow these safety tips for protecting yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Do not leave your car running in the garage, even if the door is open. A car that is parked in the garage and left to idle can build up enough carbon monoxide to be lethal in under 10 minutes. Pull your car into the driveway and leave it to idle if you need to warm it up.
- Make sure to have all of your combustion appliances serviced annually. This is especially true if your heating system requires gas. Your heating system is a seasonal appliance that sits idle for several months throughout the year, make sure that nothing has been damaged during the spring and summer that could cause a release of deadly carbon monoxide.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Make sure they are installed in the hallways outside of rooms used for sleeping. They should be affixed to the wall near the ceiling or, to the ceiling itself.
Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to register carbon monoxide in the air before it is to a deadly level. They are the best way to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.