What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas. It is formed when the combustion of fuels is not fully complete, so it can occur any time fuel is being burned. Chemically, it consists of one carbon atom and one oxygen atom. Even though it sounds simple enough, it is an incredibly dangerous compound and can even cause death.
Why is it Dangerous?
Because carbon monoxide cannot be seen or smelled, it can be hard to know if there is a carbon monoxide leak in your home. If CO builds up indoors or in an enclosed area, it can be deadly. As your body is forced to breathe in more carbon monoxide and less oxygen, it starts to affect your bloodstream. The oxygen in your red blood cells gets replaced with carbon monoxide which does serious damage to your body and can often result in death without treatment.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide are often similar to the flu. If you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms, get to fresh air and seek medical attention: dull headache, weakness, dizziness, nausea or vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, or loss of consciousness. (https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/carbon-monoxide/symptoms-causes/syc-20370642)
Where Does it Come From?
Carbon monoxide, or CO, can be found in fumes that come from burning fuel. Sources can include vehicles, small engines, stove tops, lanterns, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, and furnaces. Because many of these items are commonly found in nearly every home in America, the likelihood that you could be exposed to carbon monoxide is high. In fact, over 400 Americans die annually from unintentional CO poisoning. Even more frightening, over 20,000 people visit the emergency room and 4,000 people are then hospitalized from CO exposure every year in the United States. (https://www.cdc.gov/co/faqs.htm)
How to Protect Yourself
The idea that a substance could be leaking into your home and threatening your health without you knowing is terrifying to consider. To help get rid of your concerns, try implementing some of the following tips in your home.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector.
- When you buy gas equipment, make sure it has a seal from a national testing agency.
- Check and clean your chimney every year.
- Don't patch a pipe with tape, gum, etc.
- Never use your gas range or oven as a heating source for your home.
- Have your heating system and other gas appliances checked regularly by a qualified technician.
If you are concerned that your system may have issues that could lead to a carbon monoxide leak, call the best heating and cooling company at the Lake - Royal Heating & Air! Let us come check on your system and help make sure the furnace is working they way it should and help prevent carbon monoxide issues.