With the hot months of summer behind us, homeowners in southwestern Florida can now start shifting gears from keeping their houses cool and energy bills low to other household issues. However, they may overlook a major but invisible threat that can cause long-term health problems.
According to the Florida Department of Health, thousands seek treatment and hundreds die each year due to carbon monoxide exposure in the USA. A large dose of this odorless, tasteless gas can lead to unconsciousness and death, although smaller doses are more common and result in flu-like symptoms. Other potential symptoms include heart problems, memory loss, difficulty thinking, and hypersensitivity of the senses, especially for the elderly, children, pregnant women and pets.
Causes and Prevention
Although all appliances that run on fossil fuels can produce carbon monoxide, most do so at acceptable levels. If they are emitting high levels, appliances should be repaired, adjusted, or replaced, depending on potential costs, savings, safety and the evaluation of a certified analyst. To prevent problems:
• Have appliances properly installed by certified technicians.
- Schedule regular check-ups for appliances and ventilation to catch potential problems.
- Use a highly sensitive detector in your home, especially near sleeping areas.
- Pay attention to warning signs. Watch for rust on appliances, which signals poor ventilation, and cracks in your heat exchanger, which signal improper operation or other defects.
Since carbon monoxide emissions are greatest at night and detectors will generally not alert you to low levels of the gas, it is important to have a certified analyst inspect your home. In doing so, they should:
- Use a digital carbon monoxide analyzer and testing equipment.
- Test each of the spaces and appliances around your home.
- Show you the actual readings.
- List the testing on your work ticket or invoice.
To find a reliable HVAC contractor or make an appointment with a certified analyst, contact us at Climatic Conditioning Co., Inc. We have been serving Sarasota and the surrounding area for the last 40 years and look forward to helping you maintain the safety and comfort of your home.