UGI encourages consumers to be aware dangers of carbon monoxide
READING - As we enter the first week of fall, UGI strongly urges consumers who use fuel-burning heating systems to take proper precautions to prevent carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.
A malfunctioning heating unit or other fuel-burning appliance can spread CO through your home, especially if the appliance has not recently been serviced.
In addition to fuel burning appliances, common sources of CO include blocked and improperly lined chimneys, unvented space heaters and indoor use of a charcoal barbeque grill.
Carbon monoxide safety is particularly important as outside temperatures drop and homes are closed tightly. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, poisonous gas that results from the incomplete burning of fuels such as wood, charcoal, gasoline, kerosene, oil, natural gas or propane.
Symptoms of CO poisoning include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.
Signs within a home that an appliance may be malfunctioning and producing CO include:
- Condensation on walls and windows
- House plants dying
- House pets becoming sluggish
- Chronic odors from a malfunctioning appliance
- Residents in the home suffering flu-like symptoms or feeling unusually tired.
CO poisoning can be fatal. Individuals who think they might be experiencing symptoms should immediately seek fresh air and prompt medical attention.
To prevent CO poisoning, you should:
- Make sure appliances are installed by a qualified technician and operated according to the manufacturer's instructions and local building codes.
- Have the chimney or appliance direct vent cleaned and inspected for leakage, debris blockages or a buildup of creosote. If you see black stains on the outside of the chimney or flue, it could mean pollutants, like carbon, are leaking into your home.
- Have the heating system inspected and serviced if you have not already done so.
- Confirm appropriate level of ventilation and air circulation around the appliance to ensure
safe operation, particularly if you have made modifications to your home that reduced air flow near appliances.
- Install a CO detector/alarm on each floor of a home, especially near every separate sleeping area. Be aware CO detectors have a limited operating life. Check the manufacturer's instruction for related information and replacement considerations.
- Change or clean furnace filters regularly.
- Keep interior and exterior air vents clear of blockages or obstructions.