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With the latest weather issues we've had here the past several days, plumbers are in high demand, along with space heaters.  And depending on the type of heater you use, your risk of carbon monoxide exposure is much higher during the winter.

According to Johns Hopkins Medical Center:

Most carbon monoxide exposures happen in the winter. The most common source of CO poisoning is unvented space heaters in the home. An unvented space heater uses combustible fuel and indoor air for the heating process. It vents the gases it makes into the room, instead of outdoors. A space heater that is not installed right or not working properly can release carbon monoxide and other toxic fumes into the room and use up much of the oxygen in the room.

This is one reason Louisiana is enacting a new law requiring Carbon Monoxide detectors be present in every home in Louisiana. In 2022 Louisiana made the following change:

Newly sold or leased homes in La. will be required to have carbon monoxide detectors installed:

— WAFB (@WAFB) December 27, 2022

But starting January 1st, 2023, The Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshall says that Act 458 of the Louisiana Legislature will require that all one or two-family residential homes sold or leased have at least one working, life-long and sealed carbon monoxide detector, which can be combined with a smoke detector.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

In addition to space heaters, other common sources of carbon monoxide include malfunctioning cooking appliances, tobacco smoke, a clogged chimney, auto exhaust or idling vehicles, malfunctioning gas water heater, malfunctioning oil, wood, gas, or coal furnaces, malfunctioning gas clothes dryer, wood burning fireplace, gas log burner, gas or fuel-burning appliances in cabins or campers, barbecue grills, pool or spa heaters, or ceiling-mounted heating units.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

There are several signs of carbon monoxide poisoning to watch out for.  According to JohnsHopkins, these include:

Nausea and vomiting
Rapid heartbeat
Shortness of breath
Chest pain
Cardiac arrest
Loss of hearing
Blurry vision
Loss of consciousness or coma
Respiratory failure

If you suspect carbon monoxide exposure in your home, leave the home immediately and call 911.

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