Cleveland homeowners want to make sure their homes are safe from carbon monoxide. Today we’re offering a great article on this subject by guest blogger Amanda Kostina.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, toxic gas that can be lethal if it's inhaled over an extended period of time. There are several sources that may leak or produce this gas in or around your home including the furnace, your oven or stove, some generators and automobiles in your garage. Protect your family and yourself from this silent killer by making sure that you adhere to the following guidelines.
Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Keeping a home completely free of carbon monoxide is nearly impossible, unless you have no utilities run by the fuel. Start by arming your home with carbon monoxide detectors that will let you know when carbon monoxide levels have become dangerous. These are different from smoke detectors in that they are usually placed near the floor, instead of on the ceiling or high on the wall. There should be a detector in every bedroom, and at least one on every level of the home. Carbon monoxide detectors can be purchased at any local hardware store. It’s better to be safe than sorry, so err on the side of caution when it comes to the number of detectors you choose to install. Check them annually, in accordance with their manuals and replace the batteries as needed. Keep up to date with new styles of detectors, and make sure you have the models that will best suit the needs of your household.
Don’t Run Your Car Inside Your Garage
On cold mornings, it’s a common practice to run out to the garage in order quickly start the car so that it can warm up before you take off for work. Even with the garage door completely open, carbon monoxide can seep into your home through cracks in the door leading to your house. Obviously, if you don’t have an attached garage, this will not be an issue for you. If you do have an attached garage, instead of running your car for ten minutes in the morning to warm it up, pull it out onto your driveway so that the exhaust pipe is completely out of the garage and only do so if the wind is not going to waft the exhaust fumes back into the garage. To be on the safe side, pull it completely out of the garage and close the door, or don’t bother turning it on at all until you’re ready to leave.
Check Your Furnace
Regularly having your furnace inspected will help ensure that gas leaks will not happen. One way to maintain your furnace regularly on your own is to change out the air filters as recommended. The frequency with which you will need to change these out depends upon how often the furnace is used, if you have any pets and how old your house is. Generally speaking, the older the house, the more dust filters through the furnace, clogging the air filter more quickly. Clean filters equals clean air, and a properly functioning furnace. If your furnace is functioning properly, it’ll be less prone to accidental gas leaks.
Use the Exhaust Vent Over the Oven
An easy way to help prevent carbon monoxide from finding a home in your kitchen is to make sure you have a working exhaust vent located over your gas oven or stove. Make sure you have this running every time you use the stove or oven to ensure the fumes will be drawn out of your home. The vent should pipe out of the house, otherwise the carbon monoxide can get trapped in your attic or wherever the vent leads. Also, be sure to clean your exhaust vent yearly, or more frequently if needed. This will get clogged with grease and dust due to it's proximity to cooking foods, so regular cleaning is essential.
Keep Your Fireplace Flue Open
Another easy thing you can do to prevent carbon monoxide dangers in your home is to keep your fireplace flue open until the embers have completely cooled from each and every fire. Even those embers can give off carbon monoxide, and closing the flue will trap the gas inside your home. Also, make sure your fireplace is working properly by hiring a chimney sweep to clean it out before each winter. If you have a gas fireplace, be sure the vent is working properly each winter before the first use.
Make a Switch
Change your gas appliances out for electric ones if you need to get new ones anyway to reduce the likelihood of a carbon monoxide leak. Sometimes your electric company will provide you with information on electric water heaters to ensure you have an energy-efficient model. This will eliminate accidental gas leaks with each replacement.
Don’t let a silent and odorless threat take over your home. Arm yourself and your family against carbon monoxide poisoning. You won’t regret taking the extra precautions.