Carbon monoxide is a significant concern throughout the developed world. Everyone should be aware of this dangerous gas so they can prevent tragedy. What is it, and why is it so dangerous? Follow along for the facts.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and otherwise undetectable gas to the human senses. It is also highly poisonous to breathe, whether you’re a person or animal. This is because, when breathed in, it displaces the oxygen levels already in our bodies, and unless resolved right away by professional medical means, this is often a lethal event. To add to this poison’s sneakiness, those breathing it in do not even know and simply get tired and fall asleep, often for the last time.
Carbon monoxide is all around us in very small amounts, and this is natural and nothing to be concerned with. However, higher-than-natural amounts of this gas in the air should be avoided. So, what does this poisonous gas come from, and how do we then avoid its dangers at higher levels?
Without exception, carbon monoxide comes from the incineration process. Whenever something burns, carbon monoxide is a certain byproduct of that burning process. This is true whether it be a simple campfire or even a gas-burning motor such as in a car or truck.
Another often under-respected source of potentially killer carbon monoxide levels is the HVAC system. Many heating systems utilize an incineration process in which some type of fuel, often natural gas or heating oil, is burned to ultimately produce the system’s heat. It is therefore critical that any system that generates carbon monoxide be installed and vented correctly.
Safety and Detection
Once you become familiar with the dangers of carbon monoxide and carbon monoxide poisoning, you certainly become much more proactive in looking out for possible sources of this gas and subsequently making sure they are safely handled. Your HVAC system is a great place to start. If your system uses a burning process to generate heat, you will want to be sure the system has intact, damage-free venting. You will also be much safer by setting up one or several carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
Carbon monoxide detectors are relatively small, affordable, and maintenance-free devices that continuously monitor the carbon monoxide levels around them. If carbon monoxide levels rise above normal, these devices will sound a loud, audible alarm. These should be placed low, as carbon monoxide is a heavier gas, and should be tested and have their batteries replaced once every six months. Testing is simple and usually just requires the press of a button on the device.
Aside from maintaining a healthy heating system, there are a few more tips around the home to keep in mind when it comes to averting potentially dangerous encounters with carbon monoxide. Always avoid running a vehicle in an enclosed building or garage with the door closed. Also, make sure any space heaters used in the home are used in accordance with their accompanying instruction manuals. Finally, always have at least one functional carbon monoxide detector running in the home. Several, placed throughout the home, is better.
Is Carbon Dioxide the Same Thing?
Most people have heard of carbon dioxide, and this gas is commonly confused with carbon monoxide. Unlike carbon monoxide, however, carbon dioxide is the result of human and animal respiration and is also breathed-in by plants. Carbon dioxide is not generated by combustion and is not typically a household danger. It can be a danger, though, if you become enclosed in a very small, air-tight space and all oxygen ends up used and replaced with carbon dioxide. This is not a danger posed by HVAC systems, space heaters, or cars running in enclosed spaces like carbon monoxide is.
Everyone should take heed of the dangers of carbon monoxide and what it can do. Here at Controlled Climate Services, our pros are expertly trained to be vigilant of all forms of carbon monoxide generation and how to mitigate any possible problems with this gas in heating systems. If you suspect carbon monoxide in the home, do not delay handling the situation. For all of your heating and air conditioner needs, including those related to possible heating system carbon monoxide, Controlled Climate Services is your premier choice. Call our office in Kennesaw, GA, today.