A gas stove or fireplace logs are highly desirable appliances, but it’s important that all your gas appliances are properly installed and maintained in order to keep carbon monoxide from getting trapped inside. Carbon monoxide is a natural byproduct of gas appliances, including generators, making it essential to have proper ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide from staying in your home.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas and can cause dizziness, nausea, and red lips, and prolonged exposure requires immediate medical attention. If you have gas appliances, be sure to keep your vents clear of snow and debris. Watch for things like excess humidity or condensation, stale indoor air, soot or water collecting around appliances or vents or yellow or flickering flames as this may indicate an appliance problem.
Installing a carbon monoxide detector is important to help detect this odorless and colorless gas before it becomes a dangerous concern.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Flu-like illness
- Heart flutters
- Cherry red lips
If you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, take the following actions immediately:
- Open windows to seek fresh air and ventilate the dwelling.
- Seek medical attention.
- Later, call your fuel supplier or licensed heating contractor for an emergency inspection.
To prevent carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors.
- Have all fuel burning appliances, flues, vents and chimneys checked regularly.
- Ensure electric generators properly vent outside.
- Never operate internal combustion engines indoors.
Never use a charcoal or gas grill indoors.
Banging in steam radiators
When cold weather comes, owners of older homes know that steam heat can involve some loud noises—just make sure you don’t let such sounds go. Steam radiators can warp the floor, and over time their thermal expansion and contraction can create ruts in the wood. According to the U.S. Department of Energy website, “Both of these effects can cause the radiator to tilt, preventing water from properly draining from the radiator when it cools. This will cause banging noises when the radiator is heating up.” Shims should be inserted under the radiators to slant them slightly toward the pipe in a one-pipe system or toward the steam trap in a two-pipe system, the Department of Energy advises. In addition to righting your radiators, try these tricks for saving on heating.