OSWEGO, N.Y. — With the cold winter temperatures, many homeowners find themselves turning up the heat in their homes. Many furnaces, water heaters, ovens, and stoves produce carbon monoxide — a colorless and odorless gas that can be deadly to humans and pets. A number of things can lead to a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home, from blocked air vents to leaking appliances.
Often, these issues occur in the winter, Oswego Fire Department Deputy Chief Paul Conzone said.
“Typically, in the wintertime, we have an increase of carbon monoxide calls. So whether it be someone feeling ill in their house or someone’s carbon monoxide alarm going off, we go out and investigate,” Conzone said.
When firefighters go out on carbon monoxide calls, they use a special meter that can detect the level of carbon monoxide. After interviewing the homeowner and surveying the house they can usually find the source and shut it off. They then ventilate the house, and once the meter reads a safe level of carbon monoxide, they will let the homeowners back inside.
“Say you don’t turn your furnace on for the whole summer, animals build nests in the chimneys and we have those calls all of the time where the chimneys are blocked so the fumes can’t get out, ” Conzone said.
Due to this, there is an increase in carbon monoxide calls in the wintertime for the fire department.
Another reason why carbon monoxide is so dangerous is that the symptoms can be easily confused with flu symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and feeling lethargic.
“When you change your clocks, change your batteries,” Conzone said.
He said that carbon monoxide detectors are extremely sensitive. So, if they start to go bad, you should replace them immediately. In the event that your carbon monoxide detector does go off, you should grab a phone, go outside and call 911 immediately.