In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 400 Americans die from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. We haven’t seen tons in the Houston area, but even one is too much. According to the CDC, there are several things you can do to stay safe.
- Carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless and can lead to death by suffocation.
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal-burning devices inside a home, garage, basement, crawlspace or any partially enclosed area. Locate unit outside; away from doors, window and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to come indoors.
- The primary hazards to avoid when using alternate sources for electricity, heating or cooking are carbon monoxide poisoning, electric shock and fire.
- Install carbon monoxide alarms in central locations on every level of your home and outside sleeping areas to provide early warning of accumulating carbon monoxide.
- If the carbon monoxide alarm sounds, move quickly to a fresh air location outdoors or by an open window or door.
- Call for help from the fresh air location and remain there until emergency personnel arrive to assist you.
The trend with building tighter and tighter homes in the interest of energy efficiency is also a part of the problem. As the homes are built tighter, air flow is restricted. Without adequate air flow, all the gasses stay in the house. A good HVAC plan will ensure adequate airflow and reduce the chance of accidental carbon monoxide poisonings.