Meet The Silent Killers Lurking in Your Home

News  Meet The Silent Killers Lurking in Your Home

Nov 12, 2020

Find out how to spot issues inside your home dealing with carbon monoxide, smoke alarms and overloading breakers.

As many people continue to live and work out of their homes, the amount of energy used has increasingly gone up. From appliances powered by electricity and gas, the output your home has to handle on a daily basis can cause stress on you and your home infrastructure. However, there are threats that could lead to larger issues if not consistently maintained. Here are the three things that every homeowner should look out for as they continue to live and work out of their constantly shifting home offices.   

  1. Carbon Monoxide Poisoning 

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “Carbon monoxide (or ‘CO’) is an odorless, colorless gas that can kill you.” Found on its ‘FAQS’ page the CDC guidelines go on to say “ ’CO’ is commonly found in fumes produced by cars, trucks, small engines, stoves, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges or furnaces.”  These particular fumes can buildup indoors and poison a multitude of people (infants, elderly, people with preexisting conditions are at higher risk) who breathe it in. More than 400 Americans each year die from unintentional ‘CO’ poisoning (not linked to fires). More than 20,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.

    So what are the symptoms and how can you protect your family? On average, the most common symptoms of ‘CO’ include headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain and confusion. Experts say symptoms are usually described as “flu-like”. However, breathing in large amounts can cause you to pass out and even die. It’s also important to note those sleeping or being drunk can also lead to death from ‘CO’ poisoning before showing any symptoms.

    When it comes to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home there are a few things you can do now to be proactive:

    • Install a battery-operated ‘CO’ detector in your home. It’s also important to check your battery consistently. CDC guidelines recommend checking or replacing a ‘CO’ detector battery when you change your clocks each spring and fall. You should also replace your actual detector every five years.
    • Get a certified expert to service your HVAC system (furnace and AC), water heater and all gas/oil/coal burning appliances annually.
    • Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. If you have a chimney, check or have it cleaned annually.
    • Never use a gas range or oven for heating purposes. This can cause ‘CO’ to buildup in your home.
    • Never use a generator inside your home, basement or garage. Also try to keep at least a 20 feet distance from all windows, doors and vents.

      *For a full list of other ways to prevent carbon monoxide from building up in your home click here

    • Install smoke alarms in all sleeping rooms, outside each sleeping area and on every level of your home.
    • Large homes may need extra smoke alarms
    • Test your smoke alarms at least once a month.
    • Replace all smoke alarms in your home every 10 years.

      *See complete tips list here

      Smoke(fire) alarms do make a difference by helping you get out of your home safely and receiving emergency assistance in saving your home. Most alarms can be found where ever you shop (i.e. home improvement stores, hardware stores and grocery stores).

  2. Smoke (Fire) Alarms

    As mentioned above having a good detector is the first line of defense against potential harms to your family and home. Having a working smoke detector can also prove as a proactive deterrent to inherent dangers (like fires) inside your home. According to the “National Fire Protection Assocation” (NFPA) “Smoke alarms...play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries. If there is a fire in your home...smoke alarms give you time to get out.” 

    The NFPA’sSmoke Alarms in U.S. Home Fires" report says from 2012-2016, smoke alarms sounded in more than half (53%) of the home fires reported to U.S. fire departments. It also says nearly three of every five home fire deaths was a direct result from homes without smoke detectors.

    *For a complete list of stats regarding home fires and smoke alarms click here

    To keep your family safe the ‘NFPA’ has also provided a few tips that can help you be prepared:

  3. Breaker Overloads

Electrical circuits play a crucial role in the safety of your home. More importantly, how those circuits are able to handle the amount of electricity being used at any given time. “Electrical circuits are designed to handle a limited amount of electricity. The electricity usage of each device (in your home, when running) adds to the total LOAD on the circuit.”  This comes from “TheSpruce.com" which also says “Exceeding the rated load for circuit wiring causes the breaker to trip, shutting off power to the entire circuit.”

*Read more from “TheSpruce.com” here

When a circuit is overloaded, the breaker is a safety precaution to shut off power. Without this precaution, the wiring attributed to the circuit begins to overheat. This can lead to the wiring itself to melt and cause a fire. While there are different types of circuits that can handle various loads, user error when plugging multiple devices into an outlet can easily overload a circuit at any given time. So what can you do to help prevent a breaker/circuit overload? Here are some signs of breaker overload to look out for:

  • Dimming lights, especially when you turn on appliances or multiple lights
  • Buzzing outlets or switches
  • Burning odors from outlets or switches
  • Outlets or switch covers are warm to the touch

*Full list provided by TheSpruce.com

Keeping your home safe and in working order is important, especially as we transition from fall into winter. Regularly check you HVAC system and appliances for carbon monoxide leaks. Monitor your outlets for overcrowding and breaker overloading. And check (or replace) your smoke alarms (and batteries) consistently. These are just a few ways to help prevent unnecessary harm to your family and damages to your home. So the only thing you have to worry about this winter is whether to go outside or not. For more information about any of these topics contact an HVAC expert or local home improvement technician.  

#HVACRepair #HVAC #MyHVACAdvocate #SmokeAlarms #CarbonMonoxide #Electricity #HVACNearMe #RepairNearMe

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