Carbon Monoxide Safety Q&A

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If you have an appliance in your Connecticut home that burns fuel – and, living in Northeastern U.S., you probably do – then you really need to know about the potential hazards of carbon monoxide.

That’s because any appliance that relies on fuel combustion produces some amount of carbon monoxide – also known by its chemical formula abbreviation “CO.” In very small amounts, carbon monoxide is relatively harmless, but as it accumulates inside your home, CO can become dangerous – or even deadly.

Here are six questions and answers about carbon monoxide safety to help keep your family safe in the unlikely event of a CO build-up in your home.

  1. What is carbon monoxide?
    Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless gas produced by burning heating oil, gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, propane, or natural gas.
  2. What causes CO buildup?
    CO buildup usually occurs for two reasons: inadequate ventilation or damaged or poorly maintained heating equipment.
  3. What is CO poisoning?
    In high amounts, carbon monoxide can cause CO poisoning, which can lead to illness, unconsciousness, or, in extreme cases, death. Symptoms of CO poisoning vary depend on the amount of exposure to the gas:

    • With mild exposure, symptoms of CO poisoning include nausea, fatigue, headaches and dizziness.
    • With moderate exposure, symptoms include severe headaches, drowsiness, and disorientation.
    • With extreme exposure, symptoms include unconsciousness, convulsions, and, in rare cases, death.
  4. What should I do if I experience CO poisoning symptoms?
    • Get fresh air immediately. Open windows and leave the house.
    • Call 911.
    • Report your symptoms to your doctor.
    • Service faulty fuel-burning appliances before using them again.
  5. What should you do if my carbon monoxide alarm sounds?
    • Leave the house.
    • Call 911.
    • DO NOT reenter the premises until getting the OK from the fire department.
    • Service faulty fuel-burning appliances before using them again.
  6. How can I avoid carbon monoxide problems in my home?
    1. Learn the signs and symptoms of CO poisoning, and teach your family what to do if they experience them.
    2. Maintain all fuel-burning appliances ­every year.
    3. Install CO detectors in your home.
    4. Repair any faulty appliances immediately.
    5. Consider an upgrade on older fuel-burning equipment.

Stay CO-safe this winter! Contact Hocon Gas today to learn more about great equipment upgrades and maintenance services for all your home comfort systems.