Understanding and Avoiding the Hazards of Carbon Monoxide

As the heat goes up in our homes to offset deep winter chills, so does the risk of exposure to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Taking a few simple precautions can go a long way in protecting you and your loved ones and providing peace of mind.

The experts at Four Seasons Plumbing suggest the following steps to ensure carbon monoxide safety:
  1. Perform regular check-ups on gas water heaters. If you have a gas water heater, perform a weekly check to make sure everything is operating properly. With many confronting the coldest temperatures of the year this month, hot water heaters will be sent into overdrive. Make sure yours is running as it should amidst the added strain. 
  2. Replace the batteries in carbon monoxide detectors. If you haven’t checked the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector lately, now is the time to do so. Test your device to see if it’s functioning properly, and if you can’t remember the last time you replaced the batteries, go ahead and change them out. Be sure to have extra batteries on hand to make sure your detector is working at all times.
  3. Invest in a new detector. If you installed brand-new batteries in your detector and something still seems amiss, don’t take any chances—purchase a new one. A well-functioning carbon monoxide detector will only last for five to seven years, so getting a new one can be critical to your safety.
  4. Know the signs of a carbon monoxide leak. The above steps will help prevent the dangers associated with carbon monoxide, but make sure you’re familiar with the telltale signs of a carbon monoxide leak: a "rotten egg" smell throughout the home; pilot lights that blow out frequently; and heavy condensation buildup on glass if the gas water heater is installed near a window.
Be sure to trust your instincts, and if you feel that the situation is unsafe, get everyone out of your home and call a professional. In the meantime, consider contacting a licensed plumber who can assess the situation and create a safety plan that suits the unique needs of your household.

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