Carbon monoxide – it sounds as scary as it is. It’s not something you can see or smell, but it can easily kill you. Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning should be every home owner’s goal.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion, which is the reaction between oxygen and fuel to produce heat. This reaction produces carbon monoxide, water, carbon, other toxins and soot. Incomplete combustion is characterized by an orange-colored flame. Carbon Monoxide is also known as CO, and it’s a poisonous gas you can not see or taste. If you have appliances that are fueled with natural gas, LP gas, oil, kerosene, coal or wood, they could potentially produce carbon monoxide.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 400 deaths occur each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. Most of those who die from the poisonous chemical are seniors of 65 years of age or older.
Symptoms of CO poisoning
When you are exposed to carbon monoxide, you may feel like you have the flu – except you won’t have a fever. Some of the most common symptoms at the start of carbon monoxide poisoning include being tired, having a headache, being short of breath, nausea and dizziness.
How can I prevent it?
For central air gas heating systems, carbon monoxide can be prevented by having a properly trained professional HVAC technician inspect your system for proper amount of combustion air, proper fuel input, proper exhaust/flue and heat exchanger integrity.
What levels of CO are dangerous to my health?
The effects of carbon monoxide depend on the level of CO, how long the exposure lasted and the previous health condition of the person. Carbon monoxide concentration is measured in PPM (parts per million). Most people won’t see any negative health effects from exposure to levels ranging from 1-70 PPM, but people with heart conditions may experience an increase in chest pains. You’ll likely start to see an increase in effects as levels rise above 70 PPM. There could be fatal results to exposure above 150-200 PPM.
How can I know if carbon monoxide is present in my home?
Most people’s initial thought is to install a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide detectors are required by law in any building or home in the state of Texas. These are useful and easy to install, helping you with detecting the colorless and odorless chemical reaction.
Generic detectors have a life span of two to three years. Although detectors are important for every home, you have to remember to replace the battery year after year to ensure correct readings of carbon monoxide levels. Also, make sure the CO detector you choose has the capability of detecting levels of CO below 70PPM.
In addition to a detector, there is an additional step you can take to keep your family safe. Have a technician come to your home for a heater tune-up, which includes a carbon monoxide leak test. It may sound obvious, but you would be surprised how many folks skip this as a part of their home maintenance.
To schedule a carbon monoxide test today, call Champion AC to speak to our trained technicians.
Ben is a retired Combat Controller with the United States Air Force. He started Champion AC in 2007. Ben is originally from the Mississippi Gulf Coast. He is happily married and an avid fan of the San Antonio Spurs and New Orleans Saints.