Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and kills around 500 people a year. Though there is not a high mortality rate associated with carbon monoxide poisoning, it is something that can easily be prevented and avoided. It is vital to your and your family’s health to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning before it is too late. Depending on the levels in your home, carbon monoxide can kill within minutes or hours. With low levels of CO in the air, symptoms are similar to the flu: shortness of breath, nausea, and mild headache. At moderate levels, symptoms are headache, dizziness, nausea, and increasing light-headedness. At high levels, people become unconscious and death can occur. One of the easiest ways to know if there is CO in your home is if the symptoms go away when you leave your house and enter fresh air. However, you want to ensure that no levels of carbon monoxide ever enter your home. Here are three easy ways to prevent carbon monoxide in your home.

Install a Carbon Monoxide Detector

This is probably the easiest and least expensive way to avoid CO poisoning. Because CO is not thick smoke as in fires, sleeping occupants are less likely to wake if there is CO in the home. There are a variety of detectors you can purchase. These detectors can be plugged into an outlet, battery operated, hard-wired, or mounted into a wall outlet. Many fire alarms manufactured nowadays already include a carbon monoxide detector. These CO detectors should be placed at least 14 inches above the floor to work properly. If it is only possible for you have to one detector in your home, place it near an adult’s bedroom. Check to make sure these are working properly every month. If you have a battery-operated detector, have backup batteries in case you need them. Check your particular fire alarm to see if it already has a CO monitor before purchasing a separate or completely new detector.

Schedule Regular Inspections

Though this can seem unnecessary, especially when you have never had any problems, it is a simple way to prevent a deadly event. Regular inspections are especially necessary if you have fuel-burning appliances; specifically, oil and gas furnaces, stoves and ovens, dryers, space heaters, fireplaces, and wood stoves. The best time to get these inspected is right before the beginning of the cooler seasons when you begin to use heat to warm your home. A trained serviceman will inspect all aspects of your home air ducts and ensure that your system meets EPA emission standards. You can schedule an inspection by calling a specialist in heating and cooling in Minneapolis.

Refrain from Idling Cars in the Garage

The exhaust from cars that is emitted into the air contains high levels of carbon monoxide. As a result, if you leave your car running in the garage, even for a short period of time, the CO gases begin to build up quickly and can enter the home. This is especially true if your garage is closed. Make sure your garage door is open when you start your car and do not leave your car running in the garage for any reason.