How to prevent carbon monoxide leaks in your home during cold weather

Thursday, February 11, 2021
How to prevent carbon monoxide leaks during cold weather
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Carbon monoxide leaks from faulty fuel-burning devices like furnaces, dryer vents, fireplaces and generators. Here's how to make sure you're protected.

There's a lot you can do now to get ready before it gets really cold.

Carbon monoxide is the silent killer during cold snaps. It's called the silent killer because it is colorless, tasteless and odorless.

Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain and other vital organs of oxygen.

Large amounts can overcome you in minutes without warning, causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate.

Carbon monoxide leaks from faulty fuel-burning devices such as furnaces, dryer vents, fireplaces and generators, meaning poisoning is more common during cold weather events.

WATCH: Keep an eye on your space heater this winter, experts say

Now is the time to make sure those items are working properly in your home.

Your best protection is a carbon monoxide detector.

Double check these four things when it comes to detector placement:

  • Make sure your detector is near a fuel-burning source like a furnace or generator.
  • If you live in a two-story house, put one detector upstairs and another one downstairs.
  • Change your batteries when you change the time on your clocks - twice a year.
  • Your carbon monoxide detector should last five years.

WATCH: How to prepare your vehicle for cold weather

Dr. Tom Waters with the Cleveland Clinic says you should watch out for the following carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms:

  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Excessive daytime sleepiness
  • Fatigue
  • Lethargy

As cold weather approaches, you may want to replace your furnace air filter. It's easy to do and a cost-effective solution that will help maintain your system, even when the temperatures drop.

If you ever believe there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home, you should get out quickly and then call 911.

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