The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide




Boston.com is reporting on the deaths of 2 people in Acushnet, MA possibly linked to carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is an odorless killer. Every year these stories are in the news when the home heating season starts. 

All homes that utilize fossil fuel heating methods or cooking methods or have an attached garage are required to have properly installed and working carbon monoxide detectors. This has been the law for years now. In addition to carbon monoxide detectors all furnaces, hot water heaters and stoves as well as fireplaces that burn fossil fuels should be regularly maintained to make sure that they are functioning properly and not emitting excessive carbon monoxide. 

Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on each level of the home as well as within 10 feet of each bedroom and any other outlying area where people may congregate or spend time where carbon monoxide may be found due to fossil fuel burning.  

Lack of maintenance can also lead to excessive carbon monoxide being produced. As we button up our homes for the winter we can also be sealing in carbon moxoide. If you have older appliances or non-wood burning fireplace you should have the burners and associated vents checked for leaks and incomplete combustion. Make sure exterior vents are kept clear as required especially as snow begins to accumulate. Trim back bushes, move items stored near the vents.

Check on elderly friends, family and neighbors who may be unable to check their detectors as well as move or make clear the exhaust vents to the outside. In older homes make sure to check the area where the vents go up into the chimney. Old or deteriorating mortar joints can allow carbon monoxide to seep back into the living spaces and walls. 

Contact your local furnace technician, appliance technician, plumber and chimney sweep to make sure everything is up to code. Contact your local fire department to make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed and functioning. They'd rather come out to check on your detectors than respond to  people getting hurt or even killed. 

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