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Carbon Monoxide and Your Heating System

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you, and it is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning in the United States.  Carbon monoxide poisoning happens within a few minutes of exposure and has been responsible for more deaths than any other form of poisoning.  It almost impossible to detect because it is colorless and odorless, so without a carbon monoxide detector, it’s incredibly difficult to know that it is in the air.  It is important to know the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning, where it can come from, and how to prevent it so you can protect yourself against its dangers.

Possible Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide comes from running a heating system, which typically occurs during the winter months. Unvented kerosene, gas space heaters, leaking chimneys and furnaces, gas heaters and wood stoves, and anything gas-powered can create dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.   Even though there are different sources where this gas can come from, a leaking furnace or boiler is the most common source of the deadly gas.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide reduces the amount of oxygen in your bloodstream causing your vital organs, such as your brain, tissues, and heart, to start failing.  It takes just a small amount of carbon monoxide to affect the body. At high levels, the result is almost always death.

The early stages of carbon monoxide poisoning is confusion and trouble concentrating. It also affects coordination and can cause individuals to become tired very quickly and easily.  People with heart problems, children, and unborn babies are at the highest risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Other symptoms include the following:

  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Headaches

Prolonged exposure can lead to unconsciousness, brain damage, and eventually death. The earliest symptoms are comparable to that of food poisoning, but evidence of the poisoning progresses quickly.

How to Catch and Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you suspect that you have been exposed to carbon monoxide, you should immediately get fresh air and call 911.  It is vital that you do not hesitate.  If you have an oil, propane, or natural gas heating system, it should be inspected regularly by a reputable heating expert.  They will make sure it has proper combustion, that it shows no cracks and all its parts are tight and secure.  They will also advise you on the proper carbon monoxide detector to install throughout your house. Even though you can purchase one at a local hardware store, it’s always best to get with a professional for advice on the best one to keep your family safe.

The Trusted Experts

It is important to be aware of the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning.  For a heating system tune-up to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or if you have any other heating and air conditioning questions, call the professionals at Comfort Experts, Inc.  We have been serving North Texas for over 50 years where we give free estimates and promise a 100% guarantee on all our services.