Every year, nearly 20,000 people take a trip to the emergency room due to carbon monoxide poisoning. CO poisoning can be fatal to anyone – pets, children, and adults. This colorless, odorless gas is commonly referred to as the “silent killer” because it’s essentially undetectable without a carbon monoxide detector. Most often, CO poisoning can be prevented if you have the right equipment and remain vigilant. We’ve got some helpful tips for you to follow so that you can have peace of mind in your home.

1. Install Plenty of CO Detectors & Maintain Them

Every home should have at least one carbon monoxide detector installed; however, it’s recommended that you install more.  There should be a CO detector outside every bedroom, so the number of detectors needed really depends on the layout of your home. If you’re unsure about how many you need, never hesitate to call a licensed professional.

Take note of the suggested replacement date on each detector and change their batteries regularly.

2. Properly Maintain Fuel-Burning Appliances

It’s important to be aware of the appliances that could pose a CO threat.  Ensure that all fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, gas stoves, fire places, water heaters, etc.  are properly vented and well-maintained. Have a licensed technician inspect them yearly to ensure they’re working properly.

Signs indicating there may be a problem with your fuel-burning appliance:

  • Streaks of soot around the appliance, or fallen soot in the fireplace
  • No upward draft in your chimney
  • Damaged and/or discolored bricks at the top of your chimney
  • Orange or yellow flame instead of a blue one
  • Excess moisture on windows and walls
  • Rusting flue pipes or appliance jacks

If you notice any of the above signs, call a licensed technician as soon as possible so that the problem can be addressed in a timely manner.

3. Don’t Use Outdoor Appliances Inside Your Home

Appliances that are intended for outdoor use should never be used indoors. Anything from barbecue grills and camp stoves to portable generators, if they’re intended for outdoor use, it’s in your best interest to keep it that way. Using these appliances inside will only invite trouble. Additionally, never use your oven to heat your home. This increases the risk of a fire and is considered a CO hazard.

4. Learn the Symptoms of CO Poisoning

This could be a difficult feat as the symptoms are awfully similar to the flu.  Don’t ignore the early signs! It could mean a world’s difference. The first signs indicating that you might have carbon monoxide poisoning are a mild headache and breathlessness during moderate exercise. If gone untreated, continued exposure can lead to more severe headaches, fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. This can progress to more serious symptoms such as confusion, impaired judgment, irritability, and loss of consciousness.

Here’s how you can tell the difference between CO poisoning and the flu:

  • Do you feel better when you’re not at home?
  • Are all family members sick at the same time?
  • Do your pets appear to be sick?
  • No fever or body aches, and no swollen lymph nodes (This would be the flu)
  • Symptoms continue to get worse

If you think something isn’t quite right, the safest thing to do is go to emergency room so that your health can be assessed by a professional.


For information or assistance with HVAC efficiency, give Interstate Heating & Air Conditioning a call at 405-794-8900.

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