The Dangers of Excessive Home Weatherizing and Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

This article was originally written by Alexandria Haber

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Be alert to the dangers of excessive home weatherizing and carbon monoxide poisoning
For a variety of reasons, including reducing energy consumption and saving money, homeowners are informed of the benefits of weatherizing the home. Despite these advantages, there is a major negative to making your home too airtight, it being, carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide is a potentially fatal gas that can go undetected in your home. In order to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning, be aware of the signals signifying its dangerous presence.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that is difficult to detect without the assistance of a special detector alarm. When inhaled, carbon monoxide immediately begins to deplete the amount of red blood cells in your blood. Depending on the amount of time you have been exposed to the gas, you may begin to experience a number of symptoms of varying concentrations. A low level concentration symptom may include headache or shortness of breath, while a high level concentration is signified by unconsciousness or brain damage. In between these two extremes, there may be nausea, vomiting or drowsiness. Unfortunately, the low level concentration will produce symptoms that could easily be confused with a flu-like illness, making it entirely possible to misdiagnose your condition. Each year there are many fatal cases of carbon monoxide poisoning due to individuals failing to identify the true cause of their illness and to their continued exposure to the deadly gas.
In addition to the symptoms of illness, a number of other signs can alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide in your house. Although carbon monoxide is problematic to detect, a stuffy, stale smell in your house may be a warning of its presence and not necessarily an indication that you should clean out the closets. If you have already taken measures to reduce moisture in your house, and you still see dripping water condensation on your windows, carbon monoxide may be present in your home. Moreover, closely inspect your stove to see that the normal blue flame you get upon ignition has not been replaced by a yellow burner flame. Or, if the pilot light in your furnace continues to go out, turn off the suspect equipment, evacuate everyone from the house and call a licensed heating contractor. A close inspection of your house may reveal that the source of carbon monoxide comes directly from your stove, fireplace, furnace or even your car. Although you would not know it, it is possible that your appliances have not been installed properly.
When your home is too airtight, dangerous carbon monoxide gases begin to seep into the air without you being aware of it. Like you, your house needs to be able to breathe. Excessive weatherizing has the potential to block the necessary flow of air needed for the safe operation of all appliances and heating equipment. Clear the air in your house with proper ventilation, know the dangers of excessive weatherization and don’t give carbon monoxide the chance to harm you and your family.