Carbon monoxide is a gas that can cause serious illness and is potentially fatal. To make matter worse, CO is colorless, odorless, tasteless and non-detectable by the human senses. For this reason, carbon monoxide is often referred to as “the silent killer.” The good news is that you can protect yourself and your family by installing carbon monoxide detectors.
Health Effects and Symptoms
Symptoms from carbon monoxide vary depending on the amount that’s concentrated in the air and the length of exposure. Less than 70 parts per million (PPM) may not cause any side effects, except for patients with heart problems. Exposure of 70 PPM or higher is more likely to cause headaches, fatigue or nausea. Longer periods of carbon monoxide exposure with concentrations above 150 PPM may cause disorientation, unconsciousness or death.
Regular HVAC maintenance should include testing any carbon monoxide detectors in your home. The test button will make sure you have enough electrical power going to the detector to sound the alarm. You can test the digital display of your detector by placing a lit cigarette or incense stick within 8 inches of the detector. Both of these items emit low amounts of carbon monoxide, but may not sound the alarm until it reaches 70 ppm. Make sure to place the detector at least 10 feet away from any potential sources of carbon monoxide and install one CO detector for each floor of your home, including near any sleeping areas.
How to Limit Exposure
In addition to installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home, you should take steps to limit the potential exposure for your family. Install all appliances in accordance with the manufacturer guidelines and local building codes. Arrange an annual inspection to ensure your heating system is operating correctly, and inspect chimneys for blockages, corrosion or loose connections. Never operate gas-powered engines, camping stoves or other unvented combustion devices inside enclosed spaces, including garages, buildings and tents.
To learn more about carbon monoxide detectors and other issues pertaining to home safety, please contact us at Sherlock Heating and Air Conditioning. We’ve been serving San Diego and the North County areas for 10 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater San Diego and San Marcos, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide and other HVAC topics, visit our website.
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