Avoiding the Deadly Threat of Carbon Monoxide
Produced by common household appliances like furnaces, refrigerators, dryers and water heaters, carbon monoxide (CO) can displace oxygen in your bloodstream when inhaled, which can lead to serious illness or death. Odorless and invisible, this threat to your health and safety is present wherever fuel is burned. While most homes are well-equipped with proper exhaust and ventilation systems for indoor amenities, CO is also emitted from engine-powered products, such as pressure washers and water pumps as well as portable and home standby generators. While these products are designed for outdoor use, you and your loved ones can still be affected by CO emissions if you aren’t mindful of the manner in which your products are used. Be sure to abide by the following tips and guidelines to ensure the safety of your friends and family when using engine-powered products around the home:
Unintentional injury or death due to CO exposure commonly occurs when an engine-powered product is used indoors or too close to the home. Some homeowners incorrectly believe that simply opening a window or door while operating their unit inside will offset any health threat from CO. Unfortunately, these measures are insufficient in protecting the home from carbon monoxide emissions. Generators, pressure washers and water pumps MUST only be used outdoors. They cannot under any circumstances be safely operated indoors — not even in a garage with the door open.
Provide Enough Clearance
While outdoor operation is imperative for engine-powered products, certain clearance requirements must be provided to ensure safe operation. Water pumps, pressure washers and generators should be placed at least 20 feet from the home during use, and there should be plenty of air space around the unit at all times to ensure adequate airflow, which is crucial for cooling the product as well as ensuring that CO does not accumulate.
Protect & Detect
In a matter of minutes, CO can render you unconscious and lead to death. While installing CO detectors in your home can help protect you from this threat, knowing the signs of CO exposure is your first line of defense against this dangerous gas. Be sure to evacuate your home and call 911 if you or your family members experience any of the following symptoms:
- Breathing Difficulties
- Bodily Weakness
- Loss of Consciousness
Pressure washers, water pumps and portable generators can certainly make life easier, but ensuring their safe operation is paramount. No one is an exception to the rule. CO is dangerous, and following the aforementioned guidelines is the only way to ensure your safety.
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