How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning: 7 Tips

Submitted by Zenka Hattingh

on Mon, 07/24/2017 - 05:56

Known as the ‘silent killer’, carbon monoxide poisoning is a highly dangerous side effect to breathing in too much carbon monoxide – produced by common household appliances. Most commonly, carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when fuel-burning appliances or heating systems aren’t installed properly, leaving any occupants in the immediate vicinity in danger of developing symptoms closely related to flu-like signs – especially when the building is tightly sealed and insulated which would prevent the carbon monoxide from escaping.

Keep the following symptoms that may be associated with carbon monoxide poisoning in mind if you do have fuel-burning appliances or heating systems installed in your home or workplace:

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Confusion
  • Vomiting
  • Drowsiness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Seizures
  • Fainting
  • Dizziness
  • Hallucinations
  • Walking problems
  • Visual impairment

Always leave the premises and seek immediate medical treatment if you suspect you may have been exposed to large quantities of carbon monoxide. Remember, children, pregnant women, and those with heart conditions are most vulnerable.

Here’s how you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning within your home and workplace:

1. Avoid heating the room with a gas stove/oven

Heating a room during the cold winter months would require alternative heating methods other than using your gas stove/oven. Although it may a more cost-effective method for cooking compared to electricity, using a gas stove/oven should only be used for this particular purpose – especially if the room is tightly sealed. Remember to check whether you’ve properly switched off the stove knob after cooking to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

2. Avoid burning charcoal inside a tightly sealed building

Having a fireplace doesn’t mean it’s okay to burn charcoal indoors. Avoid, at all costs, burning charcoal inside a house, garage, or even a fireplace if you want to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It may seem like a perfectly fine thing to do when barbequing, but you’ll cause more than a just a fire when burning charcoal inside an unventilated space.

3. Avoid using unvented gas, kerosene, or propane heaters

Always keep a space ventilated if you plan on using gas, kerosene, or propane heaters inside an enclosed area – especially in sleeping areas where carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms could go unnoticed. Always ensure that heating systems are inspected on a regular basis by accredited gas fitters.

4. Avoid installing fuel-burning appliances if you’re not an expert

It may seem like a simple task, but installing fuel-burning appliances if you’re not an expert could lead to unnecessary leaks – especially if manufacturer’s instruction aren’t followed to a T. Gas fitting experts know exactly how to install appliances properly according to certain regulations – keeping your family and co-workers safe during the cold winter months.

5. Avoid missing inspections and annual services

It’s highly important to ensure that fuel-burning appliances are serviced and maintained on an annual basis in order to avoid missing life-threatening carbon monoxide leaks. Ensure that your heating systems, chimney, and flue and inspected and cleaned by a qualified technician at least once a year and ensure that your furnace, gas ovens, and cook tops are inspected to ensure adequate ventilation.

Read: Are your gas fittings keeping you safe from gas leaks and carbon monoxide poisoning?

6. Avoid using a portable generator indoors

There may come a point in time when using a generator becomes necessary, in which case it’s important to ensure that portable generators are placed outdoors on a dry surface away from any open windows in order to avoid carbon monoxide from entering the building. Generators or fuel-powered tools should never be used indoors in an enclosed area where carbon monoxide becomes trapped. As this is very dangerous to occupants in the surrounding area, carbon monoxide poisoning could occur without the knowledge of those being affected.

Bonus tip: Remember to install CO alarms

Most importantly, since carbon monoxide is an odourless, colourless, undetected gas that can cause serious illness and even death, it’s important to have battery powered carbon monoxide detectors placed in most rooms of the house or in visible areas in the workplace. If there is a carbon monoxide leak, you’ll be notified immediately. Remember to replace CO alarm batteries at least once a year and always test the alarms frequently in order to train employees or your family members on the dangers involved if they ignore the warnings.

It’s also important to remember to replace CO alarms at least once every five years or as often as recommended by the manufacturer – ensuring that CO alarms are in working order at all times.

As a fully licensed and accredited gas fitter, we’re proudly dedicated to installing industrial and commercial gas fittings in order to ensure safety within the workplace. If you do suspect a gas leak, don’t hesitate to get in touch with our expert repair and maintenance team at Banjo – fully trained to service and repair gas fittings and installations.