Carbon monoxide (CO) can’t be seen or smelled. That is why it is often referred to as the silent killer, and kill it does. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 430 people die each year from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in the United States and approximately 50,000 more visit the emergency room because of the deadly gas. These are truly heartbreaking statistics primarily because the important thing to know about CO poisoning is that it is entirely preventable.
Your friends at Mast Heating & Cooling, which has served the Zeeland and Grand Rapids areas’ HVAC needs for more than 50 years, want our customers, neighbors, and friends to know as much as possible about the dangers of carbon monoxide. So please join us in recognizing November as #CarbonMonoxideAwarenessMonth. The following are some important answers to frequently asked questions about CO:
CO is an odorless, colorless gas produced when various fuels such as coal, wood, propane, natural gas, charcoal and kerosene are not fully combusted.
Yes. Your furnace and water heater are prime examples of appliances that combust fuel to generate heat. If they are working improperly or not properly vented, they can produce dangerous CO levels. Other machines and equipment that produce CO are grills, portable generators, automobiles and lawn equipment such as mowers and gas-powered tools. Improperly-vented or dirty fireplaces can also produce CO.
Initial symptoms of CO poisoning are often mistaken for cold or flu symptoms and include: headache, fatigue, shortness of breath and nausea. Severe symptoms may include: vomiting, mental confusion, loss of muscle coordination and loss of consciousness.
If you suspect dangerous levels of CO have built up in your home, seek fresh air: open windows and doors and leave the home immediately. Then call first responders or utility companies that will perform inspections of your home. One way to make sure your family is not threatened by the silent killer is to schedule a heating system inspection. Call Mast Heating & Cooling today and sleep well at night!