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For Safety, Check Gas Appliances Annually

November 13, 1994

The Oct. 16 "Handyman Q&A" question that dealt with the water tank vent and carbon monoxide hazard could use some further elaboration.

This month, most Southern California residents will be turning on their furnaces for the first time in more than six months. The gas company or a qualified heating technician should make a thorough inspection of each gas-burning furnace before start up as a measure to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Just weeks ago, former tennis star Vitas Gerulaitis was overcome by carbon monoxide and died in his sleep. The cause was a faulty propane heater installation.

Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood, causing lightheadedness, nausea, sleepiness, severe headaches and sometimes unconsciousness and death. Some symptoms occur within a few hours of exposure; other symptoms may come and go over months as a person inhales small but steady amounts of the gas.

To reduce exposure, every gas burning appliance should be checked at least annually. In addition, never use a barbecue grill indoors.

JOE NERNBERG

Van Nuys

The writer is the president of a plumbing, heating and cooling company.

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