February Home Maintenance Tips: Beware of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can kill a person quickly. Carbon monoxide poisonings are more common in winter, when people use generators or heaters that give off exhaust containing the deadly gas.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency offers the following tips to prevent a carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Never use a generator, grill, camp stove or other device that burns gasoline, propane, natural gas or charcoal inside a home, garage or partially enclosed area. Place the unit outside away from doors, windows and vents that could allow carbon monoxide to seep indoors.
- Install battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends placing one in hallways near sleeping areas, but having one on each level of your home provides extra protection. Test them frequently to ensure they are working properly.
- Don’t keep a vehicle running in a garage attached to your home.
- Evacuate your home and seek prompt medical attention if your carbon monoxide alarm sounds, or if you suddenly start feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous (especially if everyone in the home begins experiencing similar symptoms at the same time).
- Have furnaces and fuel-burning appliances inspected annually by a professional technician.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Guidance (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Protect Your Family and Yourself from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (Environmental Protection Agency)
Do you know what you own?
Take a home inventory using the Insurance Information Institute’s free online Know Your Stuff software. An up-to-date home inventory will help you determine how much insurance you need to replace your belongings in case they’re destroyed or stolen. Valuable personal property insurance protects treasures, such as your diamond engagement ring or grandmother’s silverware, that have coverage limitations or are not covered under a homeowners insurance or renters insurance policy.
Stay aware of potentially dangerous weather by checking the National Weather Service website or listening to your local radio or television stations for weather alerts. The NWS issues several types of alerts. For example, a watch means that conditions exist that could make severe storms likely in the next few hours, whereas a warning means severe weather has begun or is forecast to start soon. Local NWS offices issue detailed alerts with explanations of their meanings. Monitoring local media will help you stay informed of any recommendations or alerts issued by officials in your area.