Articles

What Every Homeowner Should Know about Carbon Monoxide

You can’t see, smell or taste carbon monoxide, but it’s a highly toxic gas that can make you gravely ill. In the United States, more than 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and the dangerous gas is responsible for approximately 15,000 emergency department visits nationwide. Here’s what you need to know about carbon monoxide to keep you and your family in North Carolina safe.

Combustion Pollutants

Carbon monoxide is a combustion pollutant that’s produced any time that a fossil fuel is burned. It’s a natural by-product of the fuel combustion process. The gas is generated by a wide array of sources, including fuel-burning furnaces, generators, water heaters and fireplaces. These products are designed to vent carbon monoxide safely outdoors, but improper installation, maintenance or use can allow the harmful gas to drift into living spaces.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In the body, carbon monoxide interferes with the blood’s ability to produce and carry oxygen. Both the duration of the exposure and the level of the gas affect symptom severity. Low-level exposure to the gas can cause flu-like symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and nausea. High-level poisoning can quickly lead to shortness of breath, confusion, loss of consciousness and death.

Taking Precautions

Carbon monoxide poisoning is preventable. The CDC cites regular professional maintenance for fuel-firing HVAC systems as the best way to keep your home free of the deadly gas. Poorly maintained heating systems are subject to corrosion, loose connections and blockages that allow the gas to leak into your home. At Nicholson Company, our Home Essentials Plan includes a 19-point heater tune-up that ensures your heating system operates safely. Other precautions to take include:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors on every story of your home.
  • Never use a charcoal grill or camp stove inside your home or near a window.
  • Make sure that your fireplace is properly vented before lighting a fire.
  • Only use generators outside and keep them at least 20 feet away from doors and windows.

Your comfort and safety are top priorities at Nicholson Company. We offer a full array of products and services designed to elevate your comfort, lower your energy bills and keep you healthy and safe. You can always expect the highest level of personal service when you choose Nicholson for HVAC solutions.