Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide

4:58 PM, Mar 16, 2011   |    comments
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Oak Ridge, NC -- After three children were found semi-conscious from carbon monoxide exposure in Greensboro, it's important to make sure you know what to look for and do at your house that could save your life.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer - odorless, colorless, and tasteless.

"Don't depend on your senses. Really and truly, don't depend on your senses to tell you there's a leak," said Mike Wright with Guilford County Emergency Services. He pointed out some tips while walking through a house.

For a gas water heater in a garage, he said, "The common issues that you really want to check is the flue vent where it actually exhausts that products of combustion from the heating chamber."

For a gas water heater in a garage, he said, "

"If that's pulled loose or if that seal's cracked, it can be discharging carbon monoxide in the house. The same thing at the base of flue vent," he said.

Wright recommends having your equipment checked annually by a service technician.

For a gas fireplace, Wright said, "The main concern with the fireplace is that it was installed properly and it was installed to code.

Wright recommends having at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your house, and having them near bedrooms. However, he said don't put them just anywhere.

"You want to keep it at least three feet away from an exhaust or an intake vent," he said. "That disrupts the air flow so the censors may not have time to actually pick up on the amount of CO that's present."

Other recommendations from Wright on how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning include not bringing a generator into your garage during inclement weather, not using a grill in your garage, and if you're warming up your car, pull it all the way out of the garage into the driveway. Don't run it inside, even with the garage door open.

When you're shopping for a detector, look for one that has a third party certification such as UL or Factory Mutual. That shows the product has met minimum qualifications.

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