Every year, between 20,000 and 30,000 people in the U.S. are exposed to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) - as reported by Forbes. CO leaks can be caused by many different factors, including faulty furnaces, space heaters, wood-burning stoves, and kerosene lanterns. Because it is odorless, colorless and tasteless, this gas can easily make its way to your bedroom without you being aware of it. Symptoms are varied and can range from headaches to weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, and confusion - all of which can wrest from your sleep quality. In severe cases it can even cause blurred vision, loss of consciousness, and death. Therefore, at the slightest suspicion of CO monoxide, testing and a visit to the doctor are key.
Testing For CO Poisoning
CO can essentially leak to any space in your home that is heated by your furnace, or anywhere you use other potential sources of this gas. If you mainly stay in your bedroom and you suspect there might be a leak, start out by testing for CO in your sleeping space, and do the same in other rooms of your home. Use a portable carbon monoxide meter to do this, and run the meter in your bedroom until it reaches at least a 90% reading. Your meter will then give you a reading, with 0-1 parts per million considered ‘normal’ and anything exceeding 35 PPM (the eight-hour exposure limit) being a matter of concern. These meters can cost as little as around $30, and should be considered a small investment for all homes.
Checking Your Furnace
If you don’t use space heaters that run on fuel, the problem might be your furnace. Ensure your furnace control center is working well, since this component is key for everything from temperature stability to diagnostics. Its lights and symbols can be the first warning you receive that something is going wrong with your furnace, so if you see warning lights on the diagnostic system, test the power coming into your control board, Molex plug, terminal strip and other parts of the board. If you are insecure about going at it yourself, enlist the help of a professional to check for other potential problems as well - including cracks, fissures, and other structural problems that could be causing a CO leak.
Keeping Inspection Appointments
Appliances, stoves and vehicles all have regular maintenance schedules that should be adhered to. Space heaters, for instance, which many people use in their bedrooms, should actually be professionally checked at least once yearly. Because of their size, homeowners often don’t worry, when they could cause a wide array of symptoms that are responsible for problems such as frequent waking, difficulty falling asleep, and dizziness. In general, all fuel-burning appliances should be checked once a year or as officially recommended, so use a digital calendar to send you reminders when it is time to call a plumber or technician.
CO poisoning is the number one cause of unintentional poisoning deaths in the U.S. CO is an odorless, imperceptible gas that can wreak havoc before its presence is even suspected. To ensure you enjoy a good sleep and stay safe from the effects of CO poisoning, use a meter to test for the presence of this gas, and have all fuel burning equipment (and your furnace) checked as required by the manufacturer.
What to do if you have a sleep disorder
If you believe you may be suffering from a sleep disorder you should talk with your primary care physician about your symptoms. If your doctor believes that your symptoms are signs of a sleep disorder he will usually usually refer you to a sleep clinic to have a sleep study.
If you do not have a primary care physician you can contact a sleep clinic in your area for a consultation with a sleep specialist to determine if a sleep study is the best approach for diagnosis and treatment.
The Alaska Sleep Clinic has been helping diagnose and treat a variety of sleep disorders for over a decade. As the most trusted sleep experts in the state, we have helped tens of thousands of Alaskans suffering from sleep disorders get the therapy they need for better sleep at night.
Diagnosing patients is the easy part, helping patients maintain therapy compliance is one of the greatest hurdles a sleep clinic can face for its patients. The Alaska Sleep Clinic has one of the highest successful compliance rates for patients in the country due in part to a comprehensive program that helps patients maintain therapy through remote monitoring, automatic equipment replacement alerts, and the latest and greatest equipment for all of our patients.
If you live in Alaska and would like to have a sleep study, click the link below to receive a free 10-minute phone call with a certified sleep educator now.