Each year in the United States, carbon monoxide unintentionally kills 400 people and sends ancarbon monoxideadditional 20,000 people to the emergency room. So why exactly is carbon monoxide so dangerous? What are the carbon monoxide dangers in your home? And how can you lower the risk of a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home?

The dangers of carbon monoxide

Small amounts of carbon monoxide in an open environment, like the carbon monoxide that’s generated when charcoal burns in an outdoor grill, doesn’t pose a large health hazard. But when carbon monoxide is able to build up within a closed space, it can sicken, or even kill, people and pets. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it bonds to blood in the place of oxygen. Over time, carbon monoxide makes it impossible for the body to use oxygen. People who are exposed to high levels of carbon monoxide will first suffer from headaches, nausea, and sleepiness. If exposure persists, it can lead to unconsciousness, organ failure and, eventually, death.

Sources of carbon monoxide

Carbon monoxide forms whenever combustion occurs. In the house, common sources of carbon monoxide include gas stoves, furnaces, clothing dryers, fireplaces and heating stoves. Under normal circumstances, the chimneys and vents hooked to these appliances funnel carbon monoxide safely out of the home. When chimneys become obstructed or damaged, or when appliances malfunction, carbon monoxide can begin to build up within the home.

Keeping your family safe from carbon monoxide

The potential for carbon monoxide poisoning is scary, but you can take measures in your home to keep your family safe. Have your chimneys swept and inspected at least once per year by a certified professional to keep them free from obstruction and to locate any damage or malfunctions. Never run a carbon-monoxide-generating appliance, like a camp stove, indoors in an enclosed space. You should have carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home to alert you and your family should carbon monoxide build up to a dangerous level in your home. Make sure to have a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home and in every sleeping area. Test carbon monoxide detectors regularly, and be sure that everyone in your home knows what to do should carbon monoxide detectors sound: Leave the house immediately and call 911.

Environmental Chimney Service is dedicated to keeping your family safe from the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. We offer both the chimney sweeping and dryer vent cleaning services you should have performed at least once per year to ensure that your appliances are operating safely and that your vents are cleared to allow carbon monoxide to flow out of the house. If you are due to have your chimney or dryer vents cleaned, call to schedule an appointment with Environmental Chimney Service today.