“The Silent Killer.”

That’s one of the names for carbon monoxide (CO)—and rightly so. According to, CO exposure from fuel-burning, residential appliances kill almost 450 people each year. Also, it’s estimated that CO poisoning sends another 50,000 to the emergency room.

So how can you protect your family from CO poisoning?

First let’s take a moment to understand what CO is and how it poisons you. Then we’ll check out CO poisoning symptoms.

Finally, we’ll give you advice how to prevent CO from causing harm in your home.

What is carbon monoxide and how does is poison you?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill in minutes since it’s toxic. CO’s ability to remain undetected by your senses is what makes it a “silent” killer.

CO is toxic because it reduces your blood’s ability to carry oxygen because red blood cells pick up CO faster than it can oxygen.

Image from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

So, if you’re exposed to CO for too long, you’ll die from asphyxiation (lack of oxygen).

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning, according to the CDC include:

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion

It’s hard to diagnose carbon monoxide poisoning because it mimics other problems you might be having.

Causes of carbon monoxide in your home

You produce CO whenever you burn fuels like natural gas, oil, wood, or kerosene, This, of course means, CO comes from

  • Furnaces
  • Fireplaces
  • Wood stoves
  • The vehicles in your garage
  • Space heaters

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home

CO is only dangerous when it’s not vented properly out of your home. Follow these tips to keep it properly vented out of your home.

  • Make sure your furnace has an annual maintenance visit from a professional. The professional will ensure that the CO vents out the flue pipe as it should. Professional maintenance also helps find other potential problems that could cause CO to leak out.
  • Get your chimney and flue pipe cleaned every few years. A blocked chimney will prevent the CO from leaving when you use your fireplace. Also, creosote can build up in your chimney and cause a fire.
  • Don’t leave your car running in a closed garage.
  • Install a CO monitor or alarm in your home and garage. A CO monitor detects lower levels of CO than a CO alarm will. That’s important since lower level of CO are a health hazard to children and elderly.

This article, is a sort of continuation from our previous article, “Is Yearly Furnace Maintenance a Scam?” The possibility of CO from harming your family is just another reasons why furnace maintenance is wise.

To get your furnace maintained, contact Ragsdale Air.

Ragsdale has been serving the metro Atlanta area for over 25 years.

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