What’s Sending 400 Utahans to the Emergency Room Each Year?

Posted On: January 3, 2014

Carbon Monoxide: The Odorless, Colorless, and Tasteless Killer

As homeowners, we think a lot about protecting our homes, ourselves, and our families from visible threats like fire. But we hardly ever think about carbon monoxide harming families, even though it sends 40,000 people in the United States to the ER each year.

We focus more on fire because it’s hot, hellish, and visible. But, unlike fire, carbon monoxide sneaks up on you. Until you become deathly ill from CR poisoning (carbon monoxide poisoning), you don’t even realize you have a carbon monoxide problem. This is why it’s so important to equip your home or place of business with a series of carbon monoxide detectors. It’s also important to have professionals regularly service utility equipment that can create the deadly odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas.

One of these pieces of utility equipment is your furnace.

According to Dr. Lindell Weaver of Intermountain Healthcare, a medical center in Idaho, furnaces are one of the main causes of CR poisoning. He also believes having your furnace properly serviced is one of the best ways to prevent sickness caused by carbon monoxide.

In an article by Intermountain Healthcare that Dr. Weaver is mentioned in, the medical center outlines just how dangerous carbon monoxide is.

Carbon monoxide is produced when fuel is incompletely burned by a furnace or water heater. It essentially kills by suffocation, robbing the body’s red blood cells of vital oxygen molecules. More than 400 poison victims are treated in emergency rooms in Utah each year and more than 40,000 ER visits in the United States are due to carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 40 Utah carbon monoxide victims die each year.

In Utah, we’re reminded on a regular basis of the need for better upkeep of our utility equipment. One reminder came not long ago, in November 2013, after a family’s water heater in Salt Lake City, UT failed to ventilate properly.

Dr. Weaver weighed in on this news event by contributing to an article by KSL, a newsradio and TV station in Utah. He told a KSL reporter that CR poisoning occurs more in the winter than in the summer because an “overwhelming majority of residents in Utah have furnaces.”

“I have my furnace checked every year, annually, by a certified professional, and I have carbon monoxide alarms,” Weaver said to a KSL reporter.

With the alarming statistics and carbon monoxide-related news in Utah, it’s important for every Utahan to have their furnace checked before the cold season and have multiple carbon monoxide detectors installed. If you don’t have a professional maintaining your furnace already, or desire a superior level of care, Mountain Air offers periodic furnace maintenance to Utahans with its SAVE Plan.