WICHITA FALLS, TX
Carbon monoxide gas is poisonous, colorless, tasteless and odorless which makes it even more dangerous because homeowners don't know it's there.
You can't see it, smell it or even hear it - but you can stop it. Carbon monoxide poisoning kills more than 400 Americans each year. Over 20 thousand visit the emergency room and more than 4 thousand are hospitalized due to CO poisoning - but it's not all due to generators.
The majority of carbon monoxide poisonings happen in the winter because of gas furnaces in the home but portable generators can also be deadly. Experts say they should never be used indoors, including in the garage.
“You will die if you do put the generator in the house or a garage or an enclosed location that is connected to the house. The carbon monoxide will filter into the house and you won't wake up.”
Experts says people make the mistake of putting generators in the garage so that if there's a storm and they want to fill it up with gas - they won't get wet or they're afraid the generator will get damaged outside in the bad weather. But, no matter what, they say keep the generator outside and use extension cords.
The first line of defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to install CO detectors in the home. Detectors should be installed on every level and near bedrooms. Some experts says they are even more important than fire detectors.
“You have to change them out every 3 or 4 years. Some have a ten year warranty. I highly recommend carbon monoxide detectors whether you have a gas house or an electric house.”
Carbon monoxide is produced any time a fuel is burned. When a device malfunctions or doesn't get proper ventilation, the fumes accumulate. 75% of U.S. homes have a potential source of carbon monoxide, yet surveys show only half have a detector. Other sources of CO include water heaters, space heaters, clothes dryers, barbecue grills, fireplaces, wood-burning stoves, gas ovens.
People often mistake carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms for the flu. Suffers may feel confused or dizzy. They can have nausea, blurred vision, headaches, sleepiness, vomiting or weakness.