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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Symptoms: It Can Happen Any Time Of Year!

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Jul 30, 2012 @ 02:30 PM

Now that it's summer, you might think you're safe from any concerns about carbon monoxide. But don't be lulled into a sense of false security. Carbon monoxide can be a threat at any time of the year — including the warmest months. Here's what you need to know about the year-round risks of carbon monoxide poisoning, what to look for and how to prevent it.

Causes of CO poisoning

carbon monoxide poisoning in the summerCarbon monoxide is produced when any material — coal, gas, propane, kerosene or wood — is burning. While furnaces, space heaters and fireplaces are common sources of CO, appliances that you use year-round are also sources. Sources of CO emission include:

  • Gas stoves, water heaters and clothes dryers 
  • Improperly ventilated standby generators used during storm-related power outages. These are believed to cause dozens of deaths yearly. 
  • Charcoal grills used in enclosed spaces
  • And, of course, everyone knows that a car left running in a garage can emit extremely dangerous levels of CO. 

Signs of CO poisoning

Because it is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, you should learn to recognize carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms. The first signs may be similar to the flu (especially at lower concentration levels of CO), including dizziness, nausea, headache and fatigue. Symptoms can worsen, and you may experience confusion and impaired memory and coordination. Eventually, you may lose consciousness. If you think you're experiencing CO poisoning, go outside immediately. If necessary, seek emergency medical treatment.

Preventing CO poisoning

Whenever you're using  equipment that produces CO, ensure that the area is properly ventilated. Have your HVAC equipment and water heater serviced at least annually by a professional who can make sure that everything is running properly. A simple CO detector — preferably several in your home — can be a lifesaver. The best type is a low level CO detector that gives you an early warning. These are not the types that you see at the hardware store or home center; generally they are only available from your professional HVAC dealer.

For more advice on protecting yourself from CO and other matters related to home comfort, contact the experts at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We've been serving the Cleveland area since 1936.

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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: carbon monoxide, water heater, hvac equipment, furnaces

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