As the days continue to get colder here in the Midwest the need to kick on your furnace arises. However; that need for warmth comes an increased chance of carbon monoxide being released throughout the house, which could have a detrimental effect on you and your loved ones if it is not detected right away. So what is CO, why is it called The Silent Killer, and how can you prevent it from creeping into your home? Keep reading and we will explain.

What is CO?

CO is produced by the incomplete burning of solid, liquid or gaseous fuels from household items such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and fireplaces. If these items are used or installed improperly, dangerous levels of CO can escape into the air and cause illness. Carbon monoxide (CO) is considered the “silent killer” because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, and it can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. At higher levels, the effects are potentially fatal. Practicing prevention keeps CO at bay.

To protect you and your loved ones from this Silent Killer, follow these prevention tips:

  • Check your appliances to ensure that the flame color is blue. If it is orange, contact the fire department immediately.
  • Have a professional do a safety inspection annually on all of your appliances, as well as your chimney and grill, to make sure they are in safe working order and clean.
  • Operate grills outside of your home and garage.
  • Do not leave your car running in an attached garage, even if the door is open.
  • Never rely on ranges, ovens, gas grills or clothes dryers to heat your home.
  • Never operate fuel-burning items such as space heaters and lawn mowers in closed rooms.
  • If you or other family members are feeling ill frequently at home, leave for several hours to see if your symptoms go away. If so, you may all be suffering from CO poisoning.

Always consider a having an expert come and make sure all your gas burning appliances are functioning properly, especially before the winter months hit! Also, in addition to a smoke detector, install a CO detector on every level of your home. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation and place away from furniture and curtains to get accurate detection results.

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