Carbon Monoxide - How to avoid It in Your Home? |Service ChampionsService Champions
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Carbon Monoxide – How to avoid It in Your Home?

April 6th, 2010

Carbon monoxide, also commonly known as “The Silent Killer”, is the leading cause of accidental deaths in the United States. Carbon monoxide can pose a serious threat to your family and can be a challenge to detect because it appears colorless, odorless and has no taste.  Dangerous levels of this poisonous gas can be produced by fuel-burning appliances such as water heaters and ovens that may not have been installed correctly, vehicles with engines left running in a confined space, or fuel-burning heating systems such as fireplaces and woodstoves used during the winter months.

Carbon monoxide is poisonous because it prevents oxygen from being absorbed in your bloodstream. This in turn deprives oxygen from your brain, heart and other major organs. Severity varies depending on the amount of time a person is exposed to the gas and the levels of exposure.

What are some of the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

CO poisoning can occur suddenly, resulting in sickness or death within 1-2 hours of exposure, or can happen over time with long-term low-level exposure.  The effects of low-level exposure can be just as serious as immediate poisoning, and the subtle onset of symptoms makes it extremely dangerous.

Symptoms Inclue:

  • Light frontal headache that then spreads to a severe, all-over headache
  • Dizziness and nausea
  • Mentally confused
  • Faintness or fainting
  • Shortness of breath
  • Convulsions
  • Death
  • Other long-term effects can include memory loss, brain function issues, changes in behavior and amnesia
  • CO poisoning symptoms are often overlooked and can be mistaken for the flu or food poisoning, however it does not cause a fever.  It is important to act immediately if you suspect that you or a family member has been exposed to this harmful gas.

Steps to take if you or a family member suspects Carbon Monoxide poisoning:

  • Open doors and windows
  • Turn off combustion appliances
  • Leave the house and get fresh air immediately
  • Go to the hospital and let the physician know that you suspect CO poisoning, which can be confirmed by a blood test.
  • If caught in time, treatment can be administered by replacing the carbon monoxide contamination in your body with clean oxygen to flush out your system.

CO poisoning prevention in your home:

  • Have your fuel-burning appliances, including gas water heaters and both oil and gas furnaces inspected by a Service Champions’ technician yearly, preferably at the beginning of each winter. Make certain the flues and chimney are connected, in good condition, and not blocked.
  • Don’t use a gas oven to heat your home, even for a short time.
  • A poor exhaust connection on a gas-fired dryer can cause CO to leak into your home. A blocked vent can cause CO fumes to back up into the house. This vent needs to be cleaned out periodically.
  • Don’t idle your car in the garage. Fumes can build up very quickly in the garage and living area of your home.
  • Don’t ignore symptoms, especially if more than one person is feeling them. You could lose consciousness or die if you do nothing.
  • If you have an oil or gas boiler, furnace, gas logs, gas stove or oven, wood-burning appliances or fire place, and/or appliances or heating devices that burn fossil fuels, you should have a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home. Using a CO detector is the safest way to protect your family from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.

It is important to have your heating equipment inspected by a professional technician periodically, preferably before turning it on for the winter. Your Service Champions’ technician will want to make sure the system turns on and off as it should, and make sure it is operating safely.  Your technician will also want to make sure that you do not have a cracked heat exchanger, which could cause a carbon monoxide to leak into your home.??? Service Champions offers a comprehensive 10 Point Home Health Audit that includes examining your existing heating equipment for any indication of Carbon Monoxide leaks. Contact us today to find out more about this inspection and ask us about our Home Health Audit promotion.

For more information regarding CO poisoning go to, and

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