Using natural gas or propane appliances is a great way to conserve energy, reduce the carbon footprint for your business, and keep utility costs down. However, these combustion appliances also bring with them a safety concern that you should be mindful of.
Every year, more than 10,000 people are hospitalized in the United States due to carbon monoxide poisoning. This colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas builds-up in the air of an enclosed space and, at low-levels, can cause flu-like symptoms. At higher levels it can even cause death.
Appliances like furnaces, hot water heaters, and stoves can all run on gas. These appliances use the gas for ignition rather than electricity. But, when the combustion of gas or oil takes place, the by-product is carbon monoxide. This is the same gas that comes out of the tailpipes of cars and trucks when they are running.
Thankfully, there are some things that you as a building owner can do to keep your employees and clients safe from this hazardous situation. Here are some safety tips to follow:
- Have carbon monoxide detectors installed throughout your building. Many commercial fire alarms come in a model that combines a carbon monoxide detector. These should be installed on the ceiling or at the very top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. Carbon monoxide rises in the hot air that it is found it. Therefore, the best way to test the air for it is to affix the detectors where the carbon monoxide collects.
- Have your combustion appliances regularly serviced. During a maintenance check of any combustion appliance, the technician will be able to determine if there are any operational issues with the appliance that could lead to carbon monoxide leak.
- As a precaution, make sure that your employees know the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. These symptoms are similar to those of the flu, but they will come on suddenly and will get better if the person stands by a window or goes outside. In the highly unlikely event of a carbon monoxide leak in your building, if your employees know what to look for it could save valuable time.
Taking these precautions to fight against a carbon monoxide disaster in your building is a quick and easy investment of time and resources. Providing a safe and pleasant environment for your employees and visitors is the best way to build relationships and ensure your business success.