May 7, 2023

Carbon Monoxide Dangers

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, potentially toxic gas when found in high levels. 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.

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


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. Good ventilation is important to dissipate accumulations of Carbon Monoxide in your home. Your HVAC equipment requires proper air flow in order to operate properly and is very effective at circulating and filtering air. 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.


To keep Carbon Moxide as minimal as possible, 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. HEPA Air Filter   Make certain that all appliances and equipment are in proper working order. Allow fresh air into the home whenever possible. Change air filters often, at least every three months or every month if you have high traffic or pets. Use high quality HEPA filters or filters with MERV 13 ratings (for residential) are best. For More Information


The best method for testing would be installation of carbon monoxide detectors. They are relatively inexpensive devices which are readily available and should be placed on each floor of the home. Carbon Monoxide Alarm 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 highest efficiency. Licensed and proudly serving Maryland and West Virginia From Mt Airy, MD to Hedgesville, WV and all surrounding areas. Call or text us at 301-799-7200 or Contact Us