The Invisible Killer – Carbon Monoxide

During the cold winter months, a deadly killer lurks in many homes. The invisible, odorless, quiet killer is none other than carbon monoxide. Gas furnaces, cars, charcoal grills, propane stoves and portable generators release this deadly gas.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control tens of thousands of people are sent to the emergency room each year with carbon monoxide poisoning and hundreds die as a result of severe gas inhalation.

December and January see the most cases of carbon monoxide poisoning with homes being closed up due to the colder temperatures and furnaces constantly running.

Unfortunately, carbon monoxide exposure is often not detected because the symptoms can be associated with other more common illnesses like, cold or flu. Those suffering from carbon monoxide exposure often complain of headaches, dizziness, lightheadedness and nausea. Seek immediate medical attention if you suspect carbon monoxide exposure.

What can you do to protect your home and family from carbon monoxide?
  • Have a professional technician check your heating systems, water heaters and other gas, oil or coal burning appliances every year. We recommend scheduling this every September/October, just like you would for blowing out your sprinklers.
  • Install battery operated carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Make sure that batteries are still good and check twice a year.
  • Never use generators, camp stoves, charcoal grills or other gas or oil burning devices inside the home. Sorry kids, no roasting marshmallows over that camp stove inside. Oh, and when it’s below zero outside on Super Bowl Sunday, resist the temptation to wheel in the grill.
  • Never run a car inside the garage, even with the garage door open. In the winter months it is tempting to warm up your vehicle while still parked in the garage. Take a minute and back the vehicle out of the garage to warm it up.
  • Never heat your house with a gas oven.
  • Do not burn anything in a fireplace if it is not properly vented. If smoke is coming out of your fireplace, something is not right.