While inclement weather, freezing cold temperatures and hazardous road conditions can be deadly contributors to the winter season, there’s another, far more dangerous killer to beware of during the latter months of the year. There’s no seeing it or hearing it or even smelling it: it’s an invisible threat to your health and wellbeing and it can infiltrate your home if you’re not careful to protect against it. We’re talking about carbon monoxide gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is responsible for more than 20,000 emergency room visits each year, with 400 of those ending fatally and 4,000 requiring extended hospitalization, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC). The majority of these instances occur during winter and across the United States, under-maintained heating units and HVAC systems are found to be the leading cause.
Carbon monoxide is produced anytime you have combustion, which is exactly what’s happening when you heat your home with a furnace. A fully functional furnace is built to jettison this gas safely away from your living space, however if there’s an obstruction or damage preventing the gas from escaping, it can build up in close quarters and become prevalent in your breathable air. This is why it’s necessary to contact a heating repair service in Polk County, TN before you start to rely on forced air every day of the winter season.
Most of the time, homeowners don’t notice a problem with their heating system because they’re receiving the warm air in their home that they expect. The problem—as mentioned above – comes when carbon monoxide gas cannot be safely released outside. And, unfortunately, without an inspection prior to using your heating system, there are few indicators that anything would be wrong!
Most people realize carbon monoxide levels are high in their home in one of two ways: 1) a carbon monoxide detector goes off, alerting them to the presence of the colorless, odorless gas, or 2) they start to experience symptoms indicative of carbon monoxide poisoning, including:
- Nausea, headache, vomiting.
- Chest paints, trouble breathing, asthma attacks.
- Dizziness, confusion, weakness.
Many times, people experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning mistake the symptoms for the flu or a severe cold—common during this time of the year. This can lead to deadly consequences though: sleeping in a home saturated by carbon monoxide can lead to death.
Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home is as easy as calling a heating repair service in Polk County, TN to come and assess the status of your HVAC, to make sure that it’s properly evacuating dangerous gasses caused by combustion. Having this done before winter will give you peace of mind throughout the season that dangerous gas buildups aren’t occurring. It’s also worthwhile to invest in carbon monoxide detectors if your home is not already equipped with them.
When it comes to the safety and comfort of you and your family in your own home, you can’t overlook the importance of a fully functional, safely functioning heating system. Prevent carbon monoxide buildups this winter by having yours serviced today.