Carbon monoxide: winter’s silent killer

Now that it’s officially furnace season, we’re going to talk about how to stay safe this upcoming winter season with the main topic being deadly carbon monoxide.

You can’t see it, smell it or even taste it, but it’s responsible for hundreds of deaths and thousands of hospital-related injuries every single year.

The primary sources of carbon monoxide in our homes are, simply, anything that burns a flame … furnaces, water heaters, stoves and some space heaters.

It’s crucial to have a qualified technician maintain these appliances yearly so that you and your family remain safe.

Having a battery backup carbon monoxide detector also can help, but here’s a tip: Most of the more affordable detectors will only alert you when it’s time to get out of the house. You can be slowly poisoned by CO for months and months and not even know it. Buy a low-level carbon monoxide detector. It will show you a digital read out of even the smallest levels so you can determine the problem faster and without injury.

Here’s a few more hard hitting facts. If your furnace goes out, do not use your gas stove to heat your house. Do not use any type of temporary non vented gas heaters. If you lose your power, do not bring a generator inside your home. Many people who have done this are not with us here today, period. Stay with a friend or contact a local agency.

Understanding the dangers of carbon monoxide is extremely important so that you and your family can have a safe and wonderful holiday season.

Joel Wensley is a licensed mechanical contractor in the state of Michigan, a WJBK-TV Fox2 Detroit news contributor and president of Mechanical Heating & Cooling in Dearborn Heights.