Carbon Monoxide Hazards and Your Home

Posted April 16th, 2010
by HomeownersInsurance.org Staff (no comments)

Carbon monoxide presents a very real danger to you, your family and your pets. Even relatively low carbon monoxide levels can cause health problems, and there are often no easily recognized symptoms. In some cases, simply installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home can improve your family’s health, and may be able to save you a few bucks on your homeowners insurance premiums.

You need to understand that carbon monoxide levels of 10 percent can cause symptoms that are similar to a cold or the flu. They can include things like fatigue, headache, irregular breathing, confusion, coughing and nausea. If everyone in your home is experiencing these symptoms, it could be related to carbon monoxide.

At levels above 20 percent, things become much more serious. At that level, you can lose consciousness, enter a coma or even die.

There are a number of things that can cause high levels of carbon monoxide. The primary causes of carbon monoxide tend to be furnaces, oil heaters and fireplace flues.

Other potential sources of carbon monoxide that can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning include appliances that run on gas, such as a stove, a water heater or a clothes dryer.

Fumes from automobiles can cause a buildup of carbon monoxide, too. In most states, however, building codes require that your garage be lower in the ground than your main floor and that there are vent holes to allow exhaust to escape at the bottom of your outside walls.

If you think you or someone in your family might be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, you should evacuate the house. Call emergency services, and contact your local fire department, as well.

The best way to combat carbon monoxide is to regularly have your furnace checked and inspected by a professional. Do the same for other gas appliances, as well as your fireplace. Make sure that all the venting systems are checked, too, so that nothing leaks. Replace your furnace filter regularly, as well.

You can also install carbon monoxide alarms. They should be situated one on each level of the home, somewhere near the bedrooms and around 20 feet away from gas-based appliances.

Categories: Home Safety Tips

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