There’s a silent killer out there and it affects more people than you might think.
As reported by the CDC, every year over 20,000 Americans visit the hospital with carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms and more than 4,000 of those visits turn into hospitalization. And, unfortunately, over 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year. So what is this silent killer? Read on for the dangers of carbon monoxide and how you can help keep your family safe.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a commonly occurring gas that is odorless, colorless, and poisonous. Whether you know about it or not, carbon monoxide is a part of most people’s daily lives and is produced any time fuel is burned. Carbon monoxide is produced from the use of cars, stoves, fireplaces, generators, water heaters, furnaces, grills, and more so it’s a gas that you can’t avoid.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
When too much carbon monoxide is inhaled, your body is deprived of the oxygen it needs to effectively maintain all of its functions. The dangers of being exposed to too high a concentration of carbon monoxide can be long-term, serious, and even fatal. We mentioned that carbon monoxide can lead to death, but it can also cause:
- Brain damage
- Worsening of diseases such as Parkinson’s
- Heart damage
- Memory loss
- Disruptions in cognitive abilities, language, mood, and behavior
There are also faster-acting symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Some of the dangers of carbon monoxide that set in more quickly are:
- Loss of balance
- Blurred vision
What Causes Excess Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a part of all fuel-burning activity, but the dangers of carbon monoxide become real when there is too much carbon monoxide released. One of the biggest reasons too much carbon monoxide is released in homes is because of old, poorly installed, or poorly maintained HVAC systems.
Over time, wear and tear take a toll on HVAC systems and if these systems aren’t properly maintained, or if they were installed poorly, you can become susceptible to the dangers of carbon monoxide. Damage to HVAC systems can cause leaks, and clogged ventilation can lead to blockages that cause carbon monoxide to get trapped in your home or business. Even if your HVAC system isn’t presenting noticeable problems now, proper maintenance can find small, hard to see problems that can become a big deal in the future.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Hire a Professional
Hire a skilled HVAC professional to check your HVAC system once every year, or once every 6 months. This is especially important to do right before winter arrives and heat usage increases.
Keep Your Ventilation Clear
When your HVAC systems are maintained yearly or biyearly by a professional you’ll know if there’s anything that needs to be fixed. But, during the in-between time make sure to have your vents cleaned regularly to prevent any hazardous blockage.
Change Your Furnace Filter
Replacing and changing your furnace filter is essential to making sure that you and your furnace can breathe easy. Changing your furnace filter is an inexpensive way to help avoid the dangers of carbon monoxide, and it comes with other benefits too.
Install and Maintain Carbon Monoxide Monitors
Keeping up with your HVAC system and other fuel-burning appliances and making sure that proper maintenance is a priority are great ways to prevent the silent killer. But, if there is a leak you want to make sure you’ve taken every step to keep your loved ones safe. Since one of the dangers of carbon monoxide is that it’s not easily detected because of its odorless and colorless nature, its essential to have carbon monoxide monitors.
You should keep carbon monoxide monitors on each floor of your home and outside of each room where someone sleeps. Make sure to get a high-quality monitor, follow all installation directions, and stay on top of battery changes.
The Right HVAC Team for the Job
When it comes to installing and maintaining your heating and cooling systems to keep your home comfortable and safe, it’s all about choosing an HVAC professional you can count on. At AirXperts, our licensed HVAC Contractors know exactly how to take care of your HVAC system so that your home is always running at maximum efficiency and that everyone in it stays safe.
Contact us today to make sure your HVAC system is ready for the winter, and for every other season too!