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Carbon Monoxide – The Silent Killer

Carbon Monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless. This is what makes it such a silent killer.

Winter is the riskiest season for carbon monoxide poisonings, so it is a good time to be informed and take extra precautions.

With the cold Iowa winter temperatures comes a completly sealed off home while our furnaces are working to keep us warm. When homes are insulated well, Carbon Monoxide can accumulate to dangerous levels in a very short time. It is critical to have detectors to keep you and your family safe from exposure to deadly levels of Carbon Monoxide.

Deadly levels of Carbon Monoxide can be produced by furnaces, wood stoves, fireplaces, water heaters, generators, and defective or poorly vented appliances. According to JAMA (The Journal of American Medical Association), Carbon Monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America.

Did you know that only one-third of American homes have Carbon Monoxide Detectors?

Because CO poisoning can mimic other common illnesses, it is important to recognize the symptoms caused by exposure to Carbon Monoxide.

Symptoms might include:

  • Headaches

  • Weakness

  • Nausea

  • Weakness

  • Shortness of breath

  • Vomiting

  • Confusion

  • Blurred Vision

  • Loss of consciousness

Important recommendations for carbon monoxide safety:

Choose a detector that has the label of a recognized testing laboratory.

Install and replace carbon monoxide detectors according to manufacturer’s instructions. The typical life cycle of a carbon monoxide detector is 5 years. Don’t forget to check and change the batteries a few times per year.

Make sure vents for the dryer, furnace, stove, and fireplace are clear of snow and debris to ensure adequate ventilation.

Make sure all appliances in your home are installed and operated according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Have a professional inspect your heating system and chimney annually.

Never use gas appliances such as ranges, stoves, or dryers to heat your home. Choose appliances that vent their fumes outside whenever possible.

Remove vehicles from the garage immediately after starting, even if the garage door is open.

Never use any fuel-burning camping equipment inside a home, garage, or vehicle.

To ensure that you and your family are safe from CO poisoning, purchase Carbon Monoxide Detectors and place them throughout your home. If you already have detectors, check the date on them (many have an end of life warning on them). If they are over 5 years old, replace them. Stay on top of battery changes (2 X per year). Detectors serve as an early warning when CO is present in your home way before you have symptoms allowing sufficient time for you to leave your home. Carbon Monoxide Detectors save lives!

Our comprehensive annual maintenance includes checking for carbon monoxide leaks to help keep your family safe. To schedule your appointment, call 72 Degrees at 515-965-7272 or email us at

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