It’s been called the silent killer. Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, and can easily go undetected. Ovens, heaters, and other devices in your house can produce this deadly gas if appliances are not properly maintained. Carbon monoxide, or CO, poisoning can leave you feeling dizzy, weak, nauseous, and even confused.
Some people never experience the most common symptoms of CO poisoning, and sadly may pass away from this toxic gas in their sleep without being aware of the lurking danger. Thankfully, there are simple ways for homeowners to take preventive action to keep themselves and their families from CO buildup.
Checking Your Furnace
As mentioned, malfunctioning devices within your home can be leaking CO into your household. Take your furnace for example. The heat exchanger is the point in your furnace at which combustion occurs, as the air from the unit circulates around the heat exchanger. If it has a crack, the air moves around the burner, causing incomplete combustion which increases the buildup of carbon monoxide.
The buildup of this greenhouse gas brought on by burning fossil fuel can be prevented by bringing in a certified HVAC technician to inspect your system. Older furnaces have poor ventilation compared to more recent models that feature an automatic turn-off if venting is not properly occurring. This puts homeowners and their family members in greater danger of carbon monoxide poisoning. Improper installation of components, such as the blower motor, can even cause these malfunctions.
Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector
With carbon monoxide being colorless and odorless, it is a hidden threat. However, installing a carbon monoxide detector can be your easiest defense against this silent enemy. The CDC, or Centers for Disease Control, recommends homeowners in the United States equip themselves with these detectors throughout the household to alert to any presence of CO.
It is important to check or change the batteries in your CO detector every six months, investing in battery-powered or battery back-up CO detectors. It is important to have your water heater or any gas-burning appliances serviced by a technician every year. This includes keeping vents and flues free of debris that can block ventilation lines and trigger CO poisoning symptoms.
Beyond a carbon monoxide detector, there are simple preventive tasks one can take to keep this gas from building up and threatening you and your family members. Never run a vehicle, generator, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent.
Cross Ventilation and Indoor Air Quality
Indoor air quality is important to maintain in combating potential carbon monoxide poisoning. Regular cleaning of your household can help improve air quality, as well as cross ventilation to make sure outdoor air is helping to keep any potential CO buildup. Experts recommend getting to fresh air as soon as possible if your carbon monoxide detector goes off, as inhaling too much of this gas can trigger long-term issues on vital organs like your heart and brain.
Taking proper safety measures against carbon monoxide is not only important for a homeowner, but also for a seller and even a real estate agent looking to move properties. There are simple ways and a few needed tips for becoming the best real estate agent in your area.
It can take a lot of work, but knowing your listings and the benefits of their surrounding neighborhoods can give you a leg up on your competitors. It is important to keep the lines of communication open through social media, your real estate website, and even good old-fashioned phone calls. This will make you a real estate expert in no time.