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  • Writer's pictureLisa Bea Smith


Carbon monoxide gas is known as the ‘Silent Killer’ and the ‘Great Imitator’. Carbon monoxide gas (CO) cannot be seen, tasted, or smelled and is not safe to breathe.

Do you have any gas appliances in your home (heaters, stoves, hot water heater, dryer) or a fireplace with a chimney? These appliances may not be vented correctly causing CO gas to infiltrate your home. Fireplaces can also cause negative pressure increasing the likelihood of back-drafting at gas-fired appliances elsewhere in the building. Do you have an attached enclosed garage? Starting the car (even with the garage door open) and “warming it up” in the garage can even allow CO gas into the home. With today’s emphasis on energy efficiencies, the tighter homes will allow buildup of these gases more quickly.

Low-level exposure to carbon monoxide can cause chronic health conditions from cardiovascular disease to an illness similar to Parkinson’s. Symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure include headaches, upset stomach, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, or confusion. Severe cases can cause brain damage, blindness, deafness, heart problems, or death. Exposure to CO can be a major threat to you and your family’s health.

A home with any gas appliances, a fireplace, or an enclosed attached garage should have CO detectors installed.

- within 10 feet of each bedroom door and near all sleeping areas, where it can wake sleepers. - on every floor of your home

- near or over any attached garage.

- near, but not directly above, combustion appliances, such as furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces, and in the garage

How to prevent CO poisoning?

- Install carbon monoxide detectors with labels showing that they meet the requirements of the new UL standard 2034 or Comprehensive Safety Analysis 6.19 safety standards.

- Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions and local building codes.

- Check chimneys and flues for blockages, corrosion, partial and complete disconnections, and loose connections.

- Never service fuel-burning appliances without the proper knowledge, skill, and tools. Always refer to the owner's manual when performing minor adjustments and when servicing fuel-burning equipment.

- Never operate a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool either in or near an enclosed space, such as a garage, house or other building. Even with open doors and windows, these spaces can trap CO and allow it to quickly build to lethal levels.

- Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, vehicle, or tent unless it is specifically designed for use in an enclosed space and provides instructions for safe use in an enclosed area.

- Never burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent.

- Never leave a car running in an attached garage, even with the garage door open.

- Never use gas appliances, such as ranges, ovens or clothes dryers to heat your home.

- Never operate un-vented fuel-burning appliances in any room where people are sleeping.

- Do not place generators in the garage or close to the home. The owner's manual should explain how far the generator should be from the home.

- Clean the chimney regularly. Hire a chimney sweep annually.

- Check vents. Regularly inspect your home's external vents to ensure they are not obscured by debris.

Busy Bea Home Inspection LLC includes a visual inspection of the venting of the gas appliances and the chimney, as well as recommendations for CO detectors and gas leak detectors, where necessary. Call Busy Bea Home Inspection, LLC at 318-419-3018 or email Visit the Busy Bea facebook page at .

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