Williams, Walsh & O'Connor, LLC

Check your carbon monoxide detectors this winter

Whether you rent or own your home, you are likely aware of the fact that you need working smoke detectors in the major rooms of your house or apartment, including all the bedrooms. These devices help protect you from accidental death or injury in the event of a fire.

You may not be as aware of the importance of carbon monoxide (CO) testing units. CO detectors look for elevated levels of carbon monoxide, which is an odorless, colorless gas. Symptoms of CO exposure include vomiting, headache, dizziness, coma, confusion and chest pain. People often pass out and then die.

Without detection, you may not notice CO seeping into your home. The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning are far from invisible. In fact, people can die or end up hospitalized as the result of prolonged exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide. Working detection units are important for your safety and the safety of your family members.

Furnaces, hot water heaters are sources of risk

Carbon monoxide is one of the many gaseous byproducts of combustion. Any device that burns fuel can produce carbon monoxide in dangerous quantities. Some of the biggest CO producers in your home, including furnaces and hot water heaters, work overtime during the winter.

Your gas-burning fireplace, gas range, gas grill and even a vehicle in a closed garage can all also be sources of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. Proper ventilation is critical for carbon monoxide disbursement. Snow from outdoors or even dryer lint can cover vents and create a buildup of dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in your home. Breaks in ventilation tubing can also cause similar issues.

Carbon monoxide poisoning can affect anyone

Even the healthiest adult is vulnerable to carbon monoxide poisoning, although people who are medically vulnerable, older adults and infants may be particularly susceptible to the ravages of carbon monoxide poisoning. Recovery from carbon monoxide poisoning can take quite some time. It may require intensive medical care and hospitalization.

Treatment may be expensive, and there can also be lost wages for your family to consider if adults in your family become ill as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. It may be necessary to explore options for compensation related to your CO exposure.

For tenants, carbon monoxide poisoning may be the result of inadequate maintenance on the part of your landlord. For those who own their own homes, it may be that the person who inspected your furnace missed a critical issue during the most recent inspection. If you believe that someone else may have partial liability for the injuries you suffered as the result of a carbon monoxide poisoning incident, you should carefully review your legal rights and options.

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