Carbon Monoxide Detection
Carbon monoxide is called one of the “Invisible Killers” since it's detection is difficult as it is colorless, virtually odorless and tasteless.
Its invisibility makes it a highly dangerous gas or liquid.
Most people don’t realize when the levels in there homes get too high.
Unfortunately, low exposure amounts can mask themselves as flu like symptoms. These include headaches, nausea, dizziness and fatigue.
The more exposure the more severe the symptoms can become including impaired vision, disorientation and chest pain again creating symptoms associated with other ailments.
At high levels of exposure, carbon monoxide (CO) can at the very least create neurological damage and also become fatal.
Some states have passed laws to require homeowners to install carbon monoxide detectors as accidental exposure deaths have been on the rise. Here are several reasons for the increase.
- Today’s homes are built to be more energy efficient. Although this is great for conservation, it also creates a more airtight environment in the home. This does not allow fresh air to penetrate or stale air to escape.
- As homes get older and require the old furnaces to be replaced, many times the flues are overlooked. The flue size must accommodate the new system or it will not work efficiently and create additional carbon monoxide discharge.
- Flues, chimneys and exhaust vents to the outside are often not cleaned and checked for obstructions.
- Older homes if left un-maintained, specifically the heating units and fuel burning appliances start to deteriorate and create carbon monoxide.
- And sadly, as fuel costs rise, some who have difficulties paying to heat their homes seek alternative sources such as un-vented kerosene heaters and gas space heaters in most cases putting them in the worst location; the bedroom.
Prevention is Protection
Preventing carbon monoxide is doable with a bit of common sense and diligence. The following is a list of things that you can do to minimize the risk of CO poisoning in your home.
- Install CO detectors as recommended by the manufacturer. But most recommend at least one outside the bedroom area(s) and one where the most likely source of furnace emissions could be such as the top of the basement stairs.
- Maintain all fuel burning sources with annual inspections such as furnaces, hot water tanks, gas stoves etc.
- If at all possible install a vent to the outside over your cooking stove. Venting inside just distributes the poisons and grease throughout the room, as the filters are a minimal deterrent.
- Open all flues fully when burning a fireplace.
- Replace un-vented space heaters with vented ones if at all possible.
- Have chimneys and flues checked and cleaned annually.
- Never leave a car idling inside an attached garage as the fumes can easily enter the living spaces.
- Never use your cooking stove to heat your home.
- Never use your gas or charcoal-burning grill to cook indoors.
- Never sleep in the same room as an un-vented heating source.
Following these 10 simple guidelines could save your family from a very dangerous and silent killer.
Return from Carbon Monoxide to Sick Building Syndrome