After a local incident of carbon monoxide poisoning, D.C. Fire and Rescue officials say the episode was likely related to a malfunctioning hot water heater in the basement of a house. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless and practically odorless gas, and is highly dangerous. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the following are some common sources of carbon monoxide in or around the home:
- Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters
- Leaking chimneys and furnaces
- Gas water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Gas stoves
- Generators and other gasoline powered equipment
- Automobile exhaust from attached garages
- Tobacco smoke
The agency recommends the following tips to reduce your exposure to carbon monoxide indoors:
- Keep gas appliances properly adjusted.
- Consider purchasing a vented space heater when replacing an unvented one.
- Use proper fuel in kerosene space heaters.
- Install and use an exhaust fan vented to outdoors over gas stoves.
- Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
- Choose properly sized wood stoves that are certified to meet EPA emission standards. Make certain that doors on all wood stoves fit tightly.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
- Do not idle the car inside garage.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include fatigue, possibly chest pain, impaired vision and coordination; headaches, dizziness, confusion, and nausea. Carbon monoxide can also cause flu-like symptoms that clear up after leaving home. In high concentrations, exposure can be fatal.
D.C. Fire and Rescue officials are currently giving away free smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. To get one of these free detectors, contact them at (202) 727-1614.
Previously on the D.C. Metro Area Personal Injury Law Blog, we have posted articles related to:
- Cooler weather contributes to carbon monoxide poisonings
- The use of carbon monoxide as a food additive in meat
For information about your legal rights, please call the law firm of Regan Zambri & Long, PLLC at 202-463-3030.