Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Don’t Be a Victim


Carbon monoxide is an invisible, tasteless and odorless gas. It is a natural byproduct formed when (among other things) natural gas is not fully burned up while being combusted. Excess inhalation of this gas can lead to some serious side effects, up to and including death. Fear-mongering aside, there are some important things to know and some simple steps you can take to make sure carbon monoxide poisoning never happens to you or your loved ones. The professionals with Benjamin Franklin Plumbing want to help you stay safe and healthy in your home.

How to Spot a Leak

One of the most important things to know about carbon monoxide poisoning is the symptoms it displays at low toxicity levels. Knowing these symptoms could be the key to saving someone’s life. Some early warning signs include dizziness, headaches, nausea, vertigo, irregular heart palpitations and confusion. The consternating part is these symptoms are common of many other conditions. However, if anyone in your home is feeling these symptoms very abruptly, it is a good sign there could be high levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Another indicator is if two or more people in your home are feeling any of these symptoms at the same time.

Simple Prevention

Of course, there are some simple preventative measures that can be taken to lessen the chances of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home. The most simple (and legally required in many states) step is to purchase carbon monoxide detectors for your home. They are relatively inexpensive and could potentially save your life. It’s an easy choice to make. Just remember to check them monthly along with your smoke detectors. Set the same date each month on your calendar or smartphone and you’ll never have an excuse to not check them.

Never use gas appliances (other than a furnace or boiler, of course) to heat your home. Gas stoves are meant to heat food. Camping stoves are meant to be used for cooking food outdoors, hence the terminology. If you need a space heater in your home, make it an electric one. Use gas space heaters for outdoor activities like ice fishing and camping.

Other things to consider:

  1. Have your gas appliances checked once per year. Appliances in proper working order are much less likely to emit dangerous levels of carbon monoxide.
  2. If you have a gas stove, use the exhaust fan above it whenever you are cooking. This will remove most of any carbon monoxide fumes that may have been produced during cooking.
  3. Never leave a car running inside a garage.
  4. Keep extra batteries around for your carbon monoxide detectors.

Don’t Wait Around

If you’re feeling any of the symptoms listed above (dizziness, nausea, headaches, etc.), open a few windows and go outside for a while. If you only have the symptoms because of a flu, they won’t go away outside. If you do have the symptoms from carbon monoxide poisoning, you potentially just saved your life. The symptoms should subside fairly shortly as your body absorbs more oxygen and eliminates carboxyhemoglobin (the toxic substance formed in your blood from carbon monoxide) from your body. At this point, the best idea is to call your local gas company or plumbing company and have them do a thorough test to see if the carbon monoxide has cleared and to find what was causing the leak in the first place. If this happens to you, or if you want a preventative check, Benjamin Franklin Plumbing can take care of that for you. Give us a call! If you’re in the Minneapolis area, call 952-933-8888. Residents of St. Paul and the surrounding areas can reach us at 952-933-8888. You can also contact us online.

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