Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless and tasteless, making it undetectable and extremely hazardous. Thousands fall ill and hundreds of people die from exposure to this toxic gas every year according to the Centers for Disease Control, even though CO poisoning is totally preventable. The key to prevention is education; read on to find out how to protect your family year round, while ensuring the best indoor air quality.
The symptoms of CO poisoning are not unique, and may mimic the flu or food poisoning. Their speed and severity are dependent upon the concentration and length of exposure, though inhaling amounts as small as 35 ppm or a concentration of 0.0035 percent can trigger a reaction. Common symptoms initially include:
- Shortness of breath
And may progress to:
- Chest pain
- Drowsiness or loss of consciousness
- Loss of muscle control
CO is produced when fuels or combustibles such as coal, gas, propane, wood or oil burn. When there is insufficient ventilation, such as in an enclosed area like a garage, house or tent, unsafe amounts of CO may be inhaled, enter the bloodstream and prevent oxygen absorption. Sources may include fumes or exhaust from:
- Vehicle exhaust in a garage, carport or other closed-in area
- Gas powered lawn tools
- Wood stoves
- Gas fireplaces
- Leaky chimney
- Leaky furnace
- Gas stove
- Open fires
- Never operate a generator indoors or in an enclosed area.
- Do not let your vehicle idle in the garage or carport, even if the door is open.
- Make sure all appliances and HVAC equipment are installed by a licensed professional.
- Install CO detectors on every floor in your home, and in close proximity to the sleeping quarters.
- Never use your gas stove, oven or dryer as a source of heat.
- Never use fuel-powered camping gear inside your tent, home or garage.
For more tips on preventing CO poisoning or for professional installation of your CO detector, call the experts at Aladdin Heating & Cooling. For more than 60 years we have been proudly serving the residents of the Birmingham, Grosse Pointe and Rochester areas.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Detroit, Michigan about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO poisoning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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