Warmth is an important asset to have during the winter, but without proper care of heating systems, carbon monoxide can accompany that comfort.
A buildup of carbon monoxide in the blood prohibits the absorption of oxygen in the blood system. Symptoms are flu-like, including nausea, dizziness and headaches. Too much carbon monoxide can be deadly. A byproduct of burning fuel, it is an odorless, colorless gas.
The main causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are improperly used heating systems and malfunctioning equipment.
The way people can prevent the problem is to have heating systems properly installed, used and maintained annually by professionals.
An important precaution in the fight against carbon monoxide is installing a carbon monoxide detector. The detectors will alert those in the home when carbon monoxide levels in the home are dangerously high.
Experts offer these additional precautions:
d Remove snow blocking vent caps;
d Clean lint from gas-dryer vents;
d Ensure all heat sources exhaust properly;
d Check wood stoves for air-tightness, clean stacks and proper venting;
d Warm vehicles in well-ventilated areas;
d If the home heat source is located in an attached garage, make sure the door between the house and the garage seals properly;
d Place carbon monoxide detectors where they can be read.
n Make sure detectors are in working order; and
n Call for help if you suspect a leak.
Walden said when the Kenai Fire Department receives a call, Enstar Gas Company also responds to the home. Both Enstar and the fire department determine if there is a leak and where the source of the leak is.
Anyone suspecting a carbon monoxide leak should call 911 immediately.
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