Dec 31, 2013 10:07 PM by Erin Steuber
With some cold days already this winter, and more on the way, many homes around Acadiana have been putting their heaters to work. But for thousands of homes without central air that means relying on electric, or even gas space heaters. Either type of heater is a fire hazard if not used properly, but the gas heaters can also present health risks.
Sitting in her living room Tiffany Ellsworth never imagined she was putting her health at risk.
"It's a silent killer because you don't even know it's here," said Tiffany.
Tiffany was given a Smokerlyzer test at work for insurance purposes, but being a non-smoker she was shocked by the results.
"I blew and I failed," said Tiffany.
Little did she know the test was showing she was being poisoned by carbon monoxide leaking from her gas space heater at home.
"You would never think that because you can't really smell it. You cant really see it," said Tiffany.
Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, confusion, shortness of breath and even loss of consciousness.
"It didn't even cross my mind to buy carbon monoxide detectors," said Tiffany.
The fire department recommends that anyone with any gas appliances in their homes install a carbon monoxide detector to keep you and your family safe. A rule Tiffany will forever live by.
"We could have died and not even known," said Tiffany. "We could have gone to bed one night and never woken up."
If you use a gas space heater in your home the fire department recommends you have it inspected at least once a year. A sure sign your heater is leaking carbon monoxide is the lack of a blue flame, and soot around the burners.