Carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real threat that kills hundreds of people each year. According to the NHS, 50 people die each year in the UK alone.
In most cases, CO poisoning can be completely avoided by following a few common sense safety tips.
Here are three easy ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.
Inspect Gas Appliances Annually
Faulty gas appliances are major contributing sources of carbon monoxide poisonings and even deaths each year. People, unfortunately, tend to assume that if an appliance is working, it’s working correctly.
However, gas appliances may leak, they may be burning inefficiently, or there may be some other problem that is creating carbon monoxide build up that you might not be able to detect on your own. If your house uses gas for the furnace, water heater or stove, these items should be inspected each year.
Sometimes your gas provider may offer inspection services, but home inspectors and general contractors are generally qualified to inspect gas appliances in your home.
Ensure Adequate Ventilation When Using Fuel Burning Appliances
Another major source for carbon monoxide poisoning is fuel-burning items being used in enclosed spaces. For instance, this can include using a gas or charcoal grill in an enclosed garage or shed, running a lawn mower, generator or even vehicle inside a closed garage. Even using a kerosene or butane heater inside your garage or shed can be seriously dangerous unless you have adequate fresh air ventilation.
While many people understand that using fuel-burning appliances and running combustible engines indoors probably isn’t safe, what can happen is somebody will plan an outdoor cookout only to have it start raining, the power will go out, or there’s a spur-of-the-moment need for heat or light.
In these situations, we’re not thinking about the potential dangers of using gas-burning appliances indoors, rather we’re thinking about getting our grill out of the rain, keeping our generator dry when it’s raining and the power’s out, or even letting our car warm up in the garage before heading out into the cold.
Use Carbon Monoxide Detectors Throughout Your Home
Keeping carbon monoxide detectors on each level of your home is one of the best ways to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. However, if you have a garage or shed where you may occasionally use a grill, generator or gas lighting or heat, it’s certainly worth the small extra expense to add a carbon monoxide alarm to your additional buildings.
Considering the large number of carbon monoxide poisonings each year and how most are easily avoidable, using an inexpensive carbon monoxide detector is one of the best ways to keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
While carbon monoxide poisoning may affect tens of thousands of people this year, and devastate hundreds of families, it doesn’t take a lot of effort to avoid being a part of these unfortunate statistics.
Have your gas appliances inspected regularly, don’t run fuel-burning vehicles or heaters indoors without ventilation, and install carbon monoxide detectors on every level of your home, and potentially in your garage or shed. While these few preventative tips do not take up much time or money, they do have the potential to save your life.