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A Carbon Monoxide P.S.A.

When you think of carbon monoxide, you probably don’t think of your dryer vents. But some dryers (especially gas ones) can emit carbon monoxide when they’re running. And if your dryer vents are working properly, this carbon monoxide gets vented outside your home, so it’s no big deal. However, if your vent gets stopped up with bird’s nest or lint and is unable to vent properly, you could have a tragedy on your hands. If the carbon monoxide can’t be vented to the outside, the gas will build up over time until it reaches a point where it causes carbon monoxide poisoning. Here’s what to know.

  • Carbon monoxide enters the body, then bonds to hemoglobin. As a result, instead of carrying oxygen to the body, the hemoglobin is occupied with the carbon monoxide. This leads to carbon monoxide poisoning, or the head and heart not receiving enough oxygen to work as they should.
  • Every year in America, around 420 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. And over 10,000 people a year wind up in the emergency room from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning? Dizziness, headaches, vomiting, chest pain, weak stomach, weakness, and confusion (the symptoms are most often described as being like symptoms of the flu).

How can you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? For starters, install a carbon monoxide detector in your home. Check the detector’s batteries and replace twice a year. Replace the detector itself every 5 years. Next, don’t ever patch up a vent pipe with gum, tape, or anything similar. Doing this can make carbon monoxide build up in the home. Finally, make sure any and all gas appliances are venting properly! If they aren’t, call a qualified technician (like Dryer Vent Wizard!) to come fix the problem immediately.

There’s a reason carbon monoxide is called the “silent killer”. This gas is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, so it can sneak up on you before you know it. If you know the fact about carbon monoxide, though, like the symptoms it can create, you can keep your family much safer.

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