Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Carbon Monoxide Danger

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, potentially toxic gas when found in high levels in your home.

Carbon Monoxide is naturally occurring and at low levels do not cause harm. At levels of 35ppm or greater, it becomes toxic. It can develop in homes from improperly operating HVAC equipment, cooking equipment, car exhaust, any equipment burning fuels.

Poisoning from Carbon Monoxide is the most common cause of fatal gas poisoning globally.

Toxicity

Carbon monoxide (CO) is also produced in the human body and at low levels can have physiological benefit. Toxicity occurs when levels reach a toxic level at 35ppm or greater.

Hemoglobin in the blood transports oxygenated blood to tissues throughout the body. When there is an excess of CO, it combines with Hemoglobin to produce Carboxyhemoglobin.

At 667ppm CO can cause 50% of the Hemoglobin to convert to Carboxyhemoglobin. Carboxyhemoglobin is not oxygenated and so as the blood is transported to the tissues in the body, it is non- oxygenated and the tissues and cells become oxygen deprived.

This oxygen deprived state can lead to serious health risks and death.

Carbon Monoxide Sources

As already mentioned, Carbon Monoxide is a naturally occurring element. It is produced at high levels by anything which consumes oxygen. Fire and burning of fuels also produces CO. Therefore, malfunctioning HVAC equipment can be a culprit.

Other in home culprits can be water heaters, ovens, gas and kerosene heaters, cigarette smoking, generators and fireplaces.

All your HVAC equipment requires proper air flow in order to operate properly. Your equipment requires clear, unencumbered space around it.

For inside units there must be at least 24” clearance in front of door access panel and 12” on the sides. For outside units there should be 36” around the front of the unit, 12” on the sides and 4’ free space above the unit.

Prevention

Make sure there is plenty of ventilation and air flow throughout your home. Keep your all your vents, air returns, filters and equipment clean and clear from debris and blockages.

Change your air filters at least every three months or every month if you have pets, high traffic.

Testing

The best method for testing would be installation of carbon monoxide detectors. They are a relatively inexpensive device which are readily available.
Air quality test by professional air testing company.

Air Doctor Heating and Air can assist you with your HVAC equipment to ensure it is able to operate at it’s fullest and most efficient operation possible.

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