NEWS AND INFORMATION
VOLUME 23, NO. 6
Carbon Monoxide: Keep Your Family Safe
Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is caused by fuel-burning sources such as furnaces, water heaters, generators, stoves and fireplaces. Very high levels of CO can lead to incapacitation or death, with victims sometimes never having been aware they were being poisoned. Take these precautions to help prevent a tragedy in your home:
- Place CO alarms according to the manufacturer’s directions. This is the most important step you can take to keep your family safe from CO poisoning.
- Learn what to do if the CO alarm activates. If anyone in the home experiences symptoms such as fatigue, dizziness, blurred vision, nausea, or confusion, everyone should leave immediately and seek medical attention. If no symptoms are felt, open doors and windows immediately and shut off all fuel-burning devices that may be potential sources of CO. Be sure to check on pets, too.
- Make sure the furnace, gas-powered water heater, gas dryer and range are properly installed and vented to the outdoors.
- Don’t use a gas stove or oven to heat the home, even temporarily.
- Never use camp stoves or charcoal grills indoors.
- Generators must only be used outdoors and kept at least 20 feet away from windows, doors and vents. Do not operate a generator in a garage.
- Never start or idle a vehicle in the garage, even if the door is open.
- For wood-burning fireplaces, have the chimney professionally inspected and cleaned annually.
Thousands of people are accidentally poisoned each year by carbon monoxide, and hundreds die. Taking these steps will help lower the risk to yourself and your loved ones.
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Protect Your Home From Water Damage
Water damage can lead to mold and odor problems, and worse. If left unmitigated, it can eventually cause structural damage, which can mean significant costs to repair and can affect a home’s value.
Prevention is the first line of defense. Here are some basics on preventing water damage and its effects:
- Water supply lines and connections to and from washing machines and dishwashers should be regularly inspected for cracks and leaks. Replace the hoses every five years or so. If the laundry room is located on the main floor or above, damage to the floor and ceiling below can be especially problematic.
- Over time, tank-style water heaters can rust out and release the contents of the tank. An overflow valve will conduct leaking water to a pipe that drains either to the outside or to an appropriate interior drain. Homeowners should check with a plumber who is familiar with local codes for this type of overflow pipe.
- Another common source of water leaks is the icemaker supply line; this should be regularly checked as well. Consider shutting off the icemaker and the supply line if leaving home for more than a few days.
- Check gutters and downspouts to ensure that water flows away from the home’s foundation. Make any needed adjustments, and check the flow again using a garden hose.
- Leak detectors can be installed at floor level near water heaters, washing machines and interior air conditioning units. Simple, inexpensive wireless models are widely available and will sound an alarm or alert you via an app when water is detected on the floor near these appliances.
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