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Carbon Monoxide: 7 Warning Signs

Carbon monoxide is never to be taken lightly. More than 400 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year and over 10,000 more require medical treatment for symptoms of illness brought about by excessive exposure to carbon monoxide gas. Thankfully, there are ways to prevent and predict this silent threat.

Here are 7 warning signs that can alert you to the fact that carbon monoxide is present in your home. As a reminder, if you see any of these danger signs, address the problem immediately by having repairs done and seeking medical help. 

1. Moisture

Carbon monoxide creates moisture in the home, leading to condensation in the walls and/or on the inside part of windows. You will also likely notice water streaks on the device releasing this gas. These include excessive rusting near fuel burning devices, especially on metal chimneys, appliance jacks, and flue pipes. Mold can also be a sign of carbon monoxide in the home because it grows when humid air comes in contact with a cold spot. Look out for moisture on walls, floors, and appliances in an unventilated area.

2. Lack of Energy

You may feel tired all the time, have a hard time getting up in the morning or simply not feel much like doing anything. You may also feel short of breath when exercising or carrying heavy objects. Those who already have breathing problems such as asthma may feel out of breath even when relaxing.

3. Vegetation and Animals Affected by Carbon Monoxide

While not all plants last through the winter it is unwise to automatically attribute wilting, dying plants to the change in temperature. If all your plants seem to be doing poorly and/or the plants closest to fuel burning devices tend to die sooner than the others, this is a telltale sign you may have carbon monoxide in the home. If you have an indoor pet who is not eating well and seems to be overly tired, confused or irritated, try taking it outside to see if symptoms improve. If the pet is noticeably better outside the home you can be sure that there is carbon monoxide present inside the house.

4. Crossness

You and others in the home may feel confused, leading to increased anger, irritability and/or frustration over small things. Aches and pains including headaches, stomach aches, and chest pain stem from carbon monoxide poisoning and may also cause this irritability. Usually, everyone in the home feels ill to some degree.

5. Restricted Air Flow

Carbon monoxide poisoning happens because the gas does not have a route out of the home. This is also the case with a blocked chimney. Carbon monoxide may not block a chimney; however, a blocked chimney does cause carbon monoxide build-up in the home. If you notice your chimney is blocked, have it cleaned immediately.

6. Malfunctioning Devices

When appliances release carbon monoxide into the air, they release other, visible signs as well. Be on the lookout for stains, soot or discolored walls around where appliances are installed. Check appliance flames, as carbon monoxide causes flames to burn badly, slowly or floppily. This gas may also turn a normally blue flame orange or yellow. 

7. A Bad Smell

If you notice a stale, stuffy or burning smell in your home, be aware that this could be an indication that a device is releasing carbon monoxide into the air. While carbon monoxide is odorless, malfunctioning devices that release a smell may also release other toxic gases at the same time.

Don’t let carbon monoxide poisoning hurt you and those you love. Do everything you can to prevent poisoning and remain vigilant for signs of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

Call JDV Electric today to get carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home or to inquire about carbon monoxide!