HEALTH

Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning rises in cooler months

Oct 28, 2023, 11:30 AM | Updated: 12:06 pm

carbon monoxide poisoning...

Although much has been said concerning the dangers of carbon monoxide, the alarming truth is that relatively few Americans have actually made the necessary precautions to keep their families safe. (Photo credit: iStock)

(Photo credit: iStock)

SALT LAKE CITY — As nights get colder, your heating system will be working harder. This means the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning is higher. 

Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, which is why Intermountain Healthcare calls it the “silent killer.” Dr. Lindell Weaver said when heating systems turn up, so do the emergency room visits. 

“We see more patients poisoned by carbon monoxide at the beginning of winter than at any other time,” he said. 

More than 50,000 people visit the ER every year because of carbon monoxide poisoning. It’s important to get a furnace tune-up and to make sure carbon monoxide detectors are in working order. Also, check chimney flutes for blockage. 

Weaver said even if you’ve had your furnace and vents checked a couple of years ago, there are things that can happen to make them unsafe.

“Maybe the vent was old and it broke, or perhaps a bird built a nest in the vent.”

He said even a small leak can cause big problems. 

“It’s really pretty bad stuff,” he explained. “A little bit of carbon monoxide is quite toxic.”

Any fuel-burning heating equipment like fireplaces, gas stoves, furnaces, and chimneys can produce poisonous gas.

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Risk of carbon monoxide poisoning rises in cooler months