How can you protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning?
A nice question!
Cold months are coming, and many of us are preparing our heaters to fight against the winter. A lot of us stick to a heater for their convenience and safety. Many buildings have their whole heating system with panel heaters while the others sticking to a fuel-burning heater or a furnace.
To those who are using a burning heater (anything that involves in burning), you might have been aware of getting Carbon Monoxide poisoned if you do not use your heater properly. Any heater that requires a fire to distribute heat contains a risk of CO poison.
Is it safe to have a CO detector in your house
Most of us think that we are safe while having a CO detector in our house, near your heater. A lot of people check the machine and replace the batteries very often. However, preventing everyone in your family from Carbon Monoxide is another story.
This colorless gas is responsible for more deaths than all other toxic gas in combination. You might have learned from your science class that this CO is extremely hazardous. It can prevent your blood and oxygen from circulating if you breathe it in. Inhaling a small dose of CO can cause you to feel nausea, headache, and dizzy.
The bad effects of CO
Constant exposure to CO can result in permanent brain damage as well as memory loss. If someone poison CO poisoning, the symptoms are vomiting, fatigue, chest pain, dizziness, and hard to breathe. In that case, you need to take them out of the house and immediately call an ambulance. You can perform a CPR on them if their pulse is low.
That could be one part of the cases. What if there is no outburst of CO but everyone’s health goes down every day by this gas. It can be tough to notice a CO leak if your CO detector is not working properly or if the dose is so little. However, inhaling this gas every day can result in the same outcome of getting poisoned.
In that case, you need to be able to keep track of your family health and be able to notice the difference. If you feel like everyone is tired and absent minded all the time, especially during winter, they might be suffering from CO poisoning.
Another way of preventing this problem is to have your health checked once in a while. Your doctor can help you to trace the problem in an early stage.
How Can You Protect Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Of course, the best thing you can do to protect your family is to install a Carbon Monoxide detector. It will raise an alarm if there is too much CO in the air. However, you need to place the detector close to your heater (the chimney or escape vent) for maximum efficiency. You might want to buy one detector for every heater you have in your house. Also, replace the battery and test the alarm at least twice a year.
Even if your heater is broken, do not use gas or your oven to warm things up. You should close all the doors , windows, and simply put on more clothes in that situation.
All of your fuel-burning heaters should have a ventilation system which leads the pollutants outside. You need to check this vent once in a while for any leak. Close the access door on your heater when it is running.
You should not stay too close to your heater when it is working. The minimum distance between yourself or any other objects and the front of your heater is one meter. The further you are, the less percentage of CO that is in the air.
Remember to use the right type of fuel for your heater. You should not mix fuels or store your fuel in a can that you have previously used for store other fuel. Mixed up a fuel can emit more pollutants and cause your heater to explode. Also, keep the new fuel separated from the old. You should clean your heater and the fuel tank every time a tank of fuel runs out. This will help you to extend the lifespan of your heater and keep it in a good shape.
We recommend to keep your windows or doors partially open when using your fuel-burning heater. Although it will be less warm, it is one way to release the CO emitted from your heater outside.
You should never leave your heater running when anyone is sleeping. You can use the timer to let it provide just enough heat to be comfortable. Leaving it running all night can be dangerous and is a waste of energy. Many people have been hospitalized for this mistake.
Leave your garage’s door open when you are using a heater inside or when you start the engine. You do not want to be suffocated.
If your heater is vent-free, do not use it inside of your house. There are many models of heaters for outdoor use only, especially those without a vent. If your heater is not for indoor safety, just don’t use it.
Buy a heater that a reliable laboratory has tested and certified. Although you might even have to pay more money, your heater is unlikely to have any defect.
Your heater should also include some safety features like ODS, shock shut-down function as indoor safe-to-use.
Most importantly, you need to clean and check your heater regularly. Fuel-burning heaters get dirty quicker than other types of heater. The more dust there is, the less fresh the air gets. Dust will also obstruct your heater, thus reduce its efficiency. You should take the cleaning opportunity to have your heater examined by a professional technician. Do not leave any part dirty (the chimney and the firebox).
Take good care of your heater and always protect yourself from carbon monoxide.