Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be toxic to humans and animals. It comes from the incomplete combustion of fuels that contain carbon, including natural gas, wood, oil, gasoline, and diesel fuel. It can build up in homes and offices to levels that can cause health problems and even death. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 400 people die in the U.S. each year from carbon monoxide poisoning. There are ways to protect you and your loved ones from exposure to this life-threatening gas.
Facts About Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide comes from many common appliances, including gas stoves and water heaters, charcoal grills, generators and fireplaces. Poorly maintained gas or oil heating equipment can produce high levels of the gas. Gas-powered motors, including automobiles and generators, also emit this toxic gas. Fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are also sources. When buildings are closed up during the winter, carbon monoxide can accumulate indoors. Adequate ventilation helps exchange and dilute indoor air with fresh outdoor air, which can reduce carbon monoxide buildup.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning vary depending on the amount of gas and the duration of exposure. You may feel lightheaded, nauseous, weak or confused. Other symptoms include headache, chest pain, or an upset stomach. If you experience symptoms, go outside to breathe fresh air. Call emergency services immediately. If you stay inside, you may become confused or too ill to call for help. Overexposure can be fatal.
Ways To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
There are a few simple ways to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Install and maintain carbon monoxide alarms. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends installing carbon monoxide alarms in every household. These devices signal when high levels of the gas are present. Install alarms according to the manufacturer’s directions. Test regularly, and change batteries annually.
- Keep your HVAC system well maintained. The NATE-certified technicians at Ray’s HVAC of Schaumburg, Illinois, perform seasonal maintenance on all brands of HVAC equipment. We examine, clean, and calibrate each component of your heating and cooling equipment, including burners, ignition, and other components on gas- and oil-burning systems. We test for dangerous gasses and check your alarm.
To ensure good indoor air quality throughout the year, we offer indoor air quality products that work with your HVAC system, including high-quality filters, whole-home ventilators and UV lamps that destroy viruses and bacteria.