Often referred to as the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas everyone should be aware of. It is created by the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as coal, wood, oil, and other gases.
Carbon monoxide leaks can occur everywhere, but they are especially dangerous in the home. Common causes for carbon monoxide leaks include leaking chimneys and furnaces, gas stoves, automobile exhaust in the garage, generators and other gasoline powered equipment. There are several ways to prevent a leakage though, and just a few more include never leaving a car running in a closed garage, getting your heating vents checked annually, and never using charcoal indoors.
The risk of carbon monoxide is amplified when it is released in a small contained area with poor ventilation, and people are added to the mix. More than four hundred Americans die every year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. More than twenty-thousand people visit the E.R. due to poisoning as well. Carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms are often mistaken for symptoms of the flu with headaches, weakness, and nausea.
Now in several states, any homes built after 2011 must be constructed with a carbon monoxide detector, and it can be illegal to not have one installed at all. If your detector or alarm goes off you should evacuate your home and call 911 immediately. These preventatives could save your life.