Prevent Carbon Monoxide in your Home

 

Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can be generated in your own home without your knowledge. It is odorless, colorless, and tasteless, which makes it very difficult to detect. Appliances such as space heaters, gas stoves, furnaces, heaters, and refrigerators can all emit carbon monoxide if poorly ventilated. A gas leak can also be a major cause of carbon monoxide emission. Even though carbon monoxide detectors are standard in most homes now, it is still important to recognize any signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide leaks in case your detector has problems.

Inspect High-risk Areas

Because of carbon monoxide’s nature, it is very difficult to detect. Make sure all appliances in your home are well-ventilated. Using appliances in an enclosed space can lead dangerous emissions. An idling car, for example, can fill up your garage with carbon monoxide, which can rapidly spread to your home.

Examine Symptoms

People affected by carbon monoxide generally show flu-like symptoms, or indigestion, headache, nausea, and light-headedness. This is another reason why most people do not make the connection with carbon monoxide. If all the members of the household have similar symptoms, and feel better when they are away from home, this could be an indication of carbon monoxide inside. Also remember to look for other signs in your home that can indicate risk factors.

Look Around the Home

There are some reliable indicators that should draw your attention to the presence of carbon monoxide. A stale, stuffy smell in a clean home is a warning sign. If you notice a burning smell, this is also a red flag. The smell may not be from carbon monoxide itself, but from other toxic gases being emitted by malfunctioning equipment. Excessive moisture on windows and walls, especially if they are close to a fuel-burning appliance, is also an indicator. However, the condensation could also be the result of excessive moisture in your home, so you need to rule out other possibilities before you can conclude that it is a carbon monoxide leak. If you have a pilot light on your gas stove, observe it for inconsistencies. If it continually goes out, it could be malfunctioning and emitting carbon monoxide. If the flames and pilot light on your gas stove are always blue and they are turning yellow, have it checked out. Be alert and on the watch for the smell of natural gas when you turn on a fuel-burning appliance.

If you notice an issue with the air quality in your home, or HVAC system, make sure to contact us. We can come and inspect the system to ensure it is working efficiently. It is important to have the issue inspected at the first sign, before delaying too long and it causes worse problems in the long run. By having the system checked regularly, your home will be warm and enjoyable this winter.

Reducing your chance for Carbon Monoxide in your home

Making sure your home does not have carbon monoxide is important for you and your family. It is a colorless gas that you cannot smell. The carbon monoxide can come from several sources, so it is important to be aware when it might start to collect in your home. Preventing carbon monoxide is the first step in protecting you and your family. You should also invest in at least one carbon monoxide detector that will alert you if the level of carbon monoxide becomes an issue. Some carbon monoxide detectors will alert you no matter what the level of carbon monoxide is.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that you cannot see or smell. Carbon monoxide is produced when a fuel like gas, oil, kerosene, or charcoal is burned. The amount of carbon monoxide depends on the quality or efficiency of combustion. A burner that functions properly has an efficient combustion. This will then result in producing very little carbon monoxide. An out of adjustment burner may produce amounts of carbon monoxide that can be serious and life threatening depending on the amount. When appliances that burn the fuel are maintained and used properly, the amount of carbon monoxide produced is typically not hazardous.

Common sources of Carbon Monoxide

Any accumulation of gases can occur if a chimney is blocked or a rusted heat exchanger prevents the combustion gases from being released from the home. Carbon monoxide can also enter the home from an idling vehicle, lawnmower, or generator that is operation in the garage. Other common sources of carbon monoxide can include unvented, fuel burning space heaters. When operating unvented combustion appliances, make sure to follow safe practices. Make sure the burner is properly adjusted and there is good ventilation. Also never use these items in a closed room, keep a window open for fresh air. It is also important to never operate unvented gas burning appliances in a closed room or in a room that you are sleeping in.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide

At the beginning of every heating season, make sure to have all the fuel burning appliances inspected to make sure they are in proper working order. Also check that the connections and venting systems are in good condition and not blocked. When possible, make sure to choose appliances that vent fumes outside the home. Also make sure to have them properly installed and maintained according to the manufacture’s instructions. If you are using the appliance in a closed room, make sure to open a window to ensure enough air for ventilation and proper fuel burning. Also make sure to never idle your vehicle in the garage, as fumes can make their way into the home. If you have to run the vehicle in the garage, open the garage door so air can come in. It is also important to never use a gas oven to heat your home, even if it is for a short amount of time. For your safety, and the safety of others in your home, never have an unvented gas or kerosene space heater in a bedroom.