More than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room for carbon monoxide poisoning each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because it can quickly starve your body of oxygen, all the while being completely colorless, odorless, and tasteless.
Thankfully, carbon monoxide poisoning is completely preventable when you install a smoke and carbon monoxide detector and hire a heating and cooling contractor to perform furnace repairs and maintenance.
HOW HVAC CONTRACTORS DETECT CARBON MONOXIDE LEAKS
While it’s normal for small levels of carbon monoxide to exit the furnace exhaust, there shouldn’t be any traces of the gas leaking into your home. Thankfully, a furnace maintenance contractor will be able to detect carbon monoxide leaks during your furnace service.
HOW CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS WORK
Carbon monoxide alarms are designed to go off once they detect a certain level of carbon monoxide in the air. Depending on the type of carbon monoxide detector you install, the alarm may be triggered by different mechanisms, such as changes in electrical currents, lowered electrical resistance, or color-changing gel. Once a carbon monoxide alarm has gone off, you won’t be able to reset it until the carbon monoxide has dissipated.
WHAT CAUSES CARBON MONOXIDE LEAKS
Carbon monoxide can leak from household appliances when fuels like oil, natural gas, and propane aren’t burned completely. For example, a gas furnace could leak carbon monoxide if it doesn’t receive regular maintenance. As an extra layer of protection, a furnace repair company may recommend installing carbon monoxide detectors for each floor of your home or commercial building so leaks are detected as soon as possible. The sooner carbon monoxide leaks are detected, the less risk there is for people getting hurt.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING SYMPTOMS
Call 911 and seek medical treatment immediately if you suspect a carbon monoxide leak in your home or commercial building. The signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are likely to show up first in children, the elderly, and pets.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Dizziness or weakness
- Dull headache
- Flu-like symptoms
- Blurred vision
- Loss of consciousness
If you notice your symptoms lessening when you spend time outside the home, this could be a sign that there’s a carbon monoxide leak. Since the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning mimic those of the flu, it can be difficult to recognize when there’s a leak without a carbon monoxide leak alarm.
WHAT TO DO DURING A CARBON MONOXIDE LEAK
If the carbon monoxide detector goes off, you’ll need to get all people and pets outside. If you are able, open windows as you escape the building. Do not stop to pack belongings and do not go back in the house or commercial building for any reason. Each inhalation of carbon monoxide causes more permanent damage to your body.
Once you are safely outside, call 911. The local fire department will inspect the building and make necessary repairs so the building is safe. In the meantime, you and anyone else exposed to the carbon monoxide will need to go to the nearest emergency room. Carbon monoxide detector systems save lives, which is why we recommend smoke and carbon monoxide alarms for every household. We also recommend you schedule preventative furnace maintenance so leaks are caught as soon as possible.
The Lansing furnace repair contractors at A-1 Mechanical are dedicated to helping customers prevent carbon monoxide leaks in their homes and commercial buildings. If you are interested in furnace repair services, give us a call at (517) 272-8629.