According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC), approximately 5,000 people are injured every year and at least 200 die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless gas which is emitted as a byproduct in the process of combustion. Any device or appliance which burns fuel is capable of producing dangerous levels of carbon monoxide. For the safety of you and your family, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector.
CO poisoning is an elusive threat, as its effects are very similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu. Carbon monoxide poisoning effects depend primarily on the concentration of the gas in the air and the length of time you’re exposed to it. Carbon monoxide mixes with hemoglobin in the blood, creating carboxyhemoglobin, which prevents oxygen being supplied to vital areas of the body. CO concentration is calculated according to ppm (parts per million). A ppm of 200 would generally cause a mild headache, nausea and dizziness over a two- to three-hour period. A concentration of 1600 ppm would cause the same symptoms and result in death within 20 mins. As a rule, if carboxyhemoglobin levels are above 50 percent, unconsciousness or death is imminent.
If you own any of the following equipment, a carbon monoxide detector should be installed:
- non-electric fuel-burning furnaces
- wood stoves and fireplaces
- gas stoves
- gas operated water heaters
- charcoal grills
If a malfunction occurs with any of these devices, there’s a potential for CO buildup. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in specific regions of your home will drastically minimize the risk of CO poisoning. Carbon monoxide detectors pick up elevated concentrations of carbon monoxide and sound an alarm upon detection.
You’ll require some help from a seasoned professional when choosing and installing your carbon monoxide detector effectively. Contact Smoky Mountain Heating & Air for the best advice on securing your home from potential CO buildup. We provide HVAC services to homeowners throughout the Asheville area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock