Spring is not the End of the Carbon Monoxide Season

As the weather improves, the impression might be that risk of Carbon monoxide exposure is lessening. While in terms of total numbers such might be the case, spring and summer do come with significant risk factors for CO poisoning. Seriously, the spring and summer risk factors are often the kind that carbon monoxide protectors are not available to warn of exposure.

The first risk factor that comes to mind is severe weather. With severe weather, comes power outages and ad hoc attempts to replace electrical power with either flame generated light or portable electric generators. While candles aren’t too dangerous, any other flame inside can come with significant CO exposure.

Electric generators are a particularly dangerous risk because not enough care is taken to make sure that the engine that generates such power, if properly vented. For potential risk factors from portable generators, click here.

Here are the basic rules when using portable generators:
Here are the basic rules to avoid CO exposure when using a portable generator:

Always use generators outdoors.

Keep generator exhaust away from air that flows into a building. But also make sure it is away from windows, doors and vents. The venting part can be critical. Many of the tragic stories we have heard this winter was from indirect exposure because an engine source (like a generator) was too close to an air intake vent.

Garages, basements, crawl spaces, are not OUTDOORS.

Follow manufacturer’s instructions. This presumes you can still find the instructions. Hopefully they are printed right on the generator itself. If not, look them up online. Keep in mind that exhaust that can get into your living area can kill you.

Use CO detectors, and make sure they are working, that the batteries are replaced when needed. Remember that smoke detectors, are not CO detectors. You can have CO exposure with no smell of smoke and without a smoke detector going off.

Next Post: Other Warm Weather risk factors.

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