And why it’s important to you. With summer coming to an end we’ll be firing up our heating systems soon and those of you with natural gas furnaces should have your heating systems checked by a qualified technician and test your carbon monoxide detectors and replace the batteries.
Carbon monoxide, or “CO,” is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.
Where is CO found?
CO is found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, or furnaces. CO can build up indoors and poison people and animals who breathe it.
What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you. People who are sleeping or drunk can die from CO poisoning before they have symptoms.
Who is at risk from CO poisoning?
Everyone is at risk for CO poisoning. Infants, the elderly, people with chronic heart disease, anemia, or breathing problems are more likely to get sick from CO. Each year, more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
How can I prevent CO poisoning in my home?
Install a battery-operated or battery back-up CO detector in your home and check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall (10/06/2016). Place your detector where it will wake you up if it alarms, such as outside your bedroom. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home in addition to alarming. Replace your CO detector every five years.
Have your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
Do not use portable flameless chemical heaters indoors.
If you smell an odor from your gas refrigerator have an expert service it. An odor from your gas refrigerator can mean it could be leaking CO.
When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories.
Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go toward outdoors, as shown below. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren’t fitted tightly.
Have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be blocked by debris. This can cause CO to build up inside your home or cabin.
Never patch a vent pipe with tape, gum, or something else. This kind of patch can make CO build up in your home, cabin, or camper.
Never use a gas range or oven for heating. Using a gas range or oven for heating can cause a build up of CO inside your home, cabin, or camper.
Never burn charcoal indoors. Burning charcoal – red, gray, black, or white – gives off CO.
Never use a portable gas camp stove indoors. Using a gas camp stove indoors can cause CO to build up inside your home, cabin, or camper.
Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
Turn off the utilities if you’ve not already done so, especially the electric, and gas. Contact your utility service if you don’t know how. Call your insurance company and follow there instructions before any clean up. Look for any signs of structural damge before entering your home and take lots of photographs to document the damage and how high the water level was.
Determine if the area has been designated a “Disaster Area“. If so you may be eligible for financial aid. Contact FEMA for more information.
Before handling any materials it would wise to get some rubber gloves and boots. Begin removing water soaked materials first like rugs, carpet, bedding etc. Remove any food that came in contact with water. Next poke holes in the drywall close to the floor to let any water drain out that may still be present inside the walls. Use a wet vac to remove any residual water and open doors and windows to expedite the drying process. Once power is restored floor fans can greatly speed up the drying process.
Dry Wall Removal
Next, remove all the drywall and insulation that came in contact with water.
Mold can appear in as little as 24 hours as such should be dealt with ASAP. A 10% bleach solution will work as a disinfectant and a non-ammonia detergent or pine oil cleaner for cleaning up and getting rid of the smell. Remember do not mix ammonia and bleach together. There are companies that specialize in this process and if you go that route select one who is IICRC certified.
Secure Your Home
Secure your home so that no additional damage occurs. Cover any roof damge with tarps and board up windows if broken. And take lots of photo’s.
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