Why Carbon Monoxide Emergencies Increase During Winter?

By law, it is the landlords’ responsibility to ensure that all gas appliances in the property are certified safe; however, the tenant must also be diligent in following gas safety tips for your home to avoid any life threatening gas issues. One of the most serious threats is carbon monoxide poisoning due to faulty boilers.

Northern Michigan enjoyed a few days of warm weather early last week but afterwards, temperatures again plunged to single digits. This means that heating systems will be working overtime to make sure that homes and businesses are warm and comfortable. However, this also increases the incidences of carbon monoxide emergencies.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can build up indoors and cause death to both humans and animals. According to Al Welsheimer, fire department chief of Resort/Bear Creek and Matthew Breed, director of Petoskey Department of Public Safety, the most common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning are problems with heating systems. During the colder months of the year, carbon monoxide-related calls increase.

The most common problems involve the ventilation systems of furnaces and water heaters. Usually, there are cracks in the combustion chambers, chimney flues and venting ducts. The issues are frequently caused by debris particularly snow-blocking vents. New high-efficiency heating systems have vents outside the building instead of through the roof. This prevents snow from accumulating and blocking proper ventilation.

Another situation wherein carbon monoxide is big a concern is the use of gas-powered electric generator during a power outage. Generators must be placed outside the home, a safe distance away. It must not be located inside a confined space like the garage. There are also risks to portable heaters that use kerosene or propane if they are not working efficiently. The unit must be approved for indoor use with manufacturer’s instructions strictly followed.

The best defense against carbon monoxide is to make sure about gas safety inside the home. There are lots of gas safety tips for your home to prevent the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. Make sure that heating systems are checked annually and maintained regularly to run efficiently.

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