Carbon monoxide poisoning is a year-round hazard but during the winter months, it can be especially deadly. This is because our homes are sealed tight to keep the cold out and we are burning fuel for heat. The reduced ventilation and fuel burning is a deadly combination leading to many deaths each winter. Carbon monoxide is odorless, which makes it difficult to know when you are in danger. Keep your family safe from carbon monoxide this winter with the following tips.
Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Make sure that carbon monoxide alarms are installed in all areas of your home. An alarm should be installed in all bedrooms and on every level of the house. Don't assume that they are to be installed on the ceiling. The instructions will specify whether it should be installed on the ceiling or on the wall at a specified height.
Make sure that the alarms are maintained and that their batteries are fresh. Note that many carbon monoxide alarms last for only two years. Replace the alarm as suggested by the instructions. This should be followed even if the "test" feature indicates that it is functional.
Understand Where Carbon Monoxide Comes From
Any device that burns a fuel, even your fireplace, produces carbon monoxide. Make sure that these devices are well maintained and vented. Installation of these devices should be done by a professional. You should also have them inspected every year.
Do Not Run Engines or Use Portable Stoves or Heaters Indoors
Don't run a power generator or a car for lengthy periods inside the garage, even when the garage door is left open. Portable stoves and heaters that burn a fuel source should not be used indoors. Grills, especially those that burn charcoal, should never be used in an enclosed area.
Inspect All Vents from Your House
Make sure that the vents for all of your fuel burning devices are kept clear. During the fall season, leaves can block these vents. They can also become blocked from snow and ice storms.
Keep the Flue Opened When Using Your Fireplace
A closed flue is often apparent because smoke from the fireplace enters the house. However, this may be less obvious for a fireplace that uses gas or when the flue is closed while embers are still smoldering.
Be vigilant to the dangers of carbon monoxide by following the above suggestions and have a safe winter.
Our goal is your protection. Call Clarion Pacific Insurance Services at 831-337-4661 for more information on Santa Cruz home insurance.