Carbon Monoxide (CO) comes from an array of household sources, including gas-burning stoves and ranges, furnaces, water heaters, and grills—especially charcoal burning ones. It’s generated from fuel containing carbon that has not been completely broken down during the combustion process. And this happens a lot. Carbon monoxide is produced in mass quantities every day, however, we aren’t phased by it if our appliances are kept clean and are running properly.
It’s also important to know the types of fuels that produce carbon monoxide, and they include gasoline, natural gas, such as methane, oil, propane, coal, and even wood products. Any time you are using an appliance that burns any of these fuels, it’s important to clean them afterward and make sure to check them regularly. This includes cars, which can harbor massive amounts of carbon monoxide, especially if you forget to open the garage when starting them.
Now you know where carbon monoxide comes from, but what about how it effects the body and why it’s so dangerous? For starters, this gas is lighter than air, colorless, odorless, and if you’re exposed to high doses for long enough, it can be fatal. What’s worse, is that symptoms for Co poisoning can be drawn out or come on quickly, depending on how long and how much you’ve been exposed to. If there is enough carbon monoxide in the air to have an effect on the body, you can experience the following systems:
- Upset stomach
If carbon monoxide levels become stronger, permeating the air, symptoms grow more severe:
- Loss of motor ability
- Trouble breathing
The tricky thing about carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms is they are similar to the flu, and if they come on slower, it can be difficult to differentiate the two. One thing to remember is that even if it’s flu season or there is a bug going around, to always take stronger precautions, just to be safe. Go to the doctor, get checked out, and if you start feeling any of the symptoms listed, exit your home immediately.
Carbon monoxide is so dangerous because when it’s inhaled, it bonds with the hemoglobin in the blood, which is how oxygen permeates through our bodies. The gas overpowers and replaces the oxygen in our bloodstream, which can lead to oxygen deprivation, causing the body to fail. As soon as carbon monoxide reaches the level of 200 parts per million (ppm) it can start to cause headaches for several hours, 800 ppm can cause dizziness, nausea and even collapse, and up to 12,800 ppm is when death is imminent, according to Grainger Technical Resources.
To ensure that you and your family are safe from this type of poisoning, contact a home security provider and have a carbon monoxide detector installed if you don’t have one. These devices will sound an alarm as soon as high levels of the poisonous gas are emitted, alerting you so you can exit the home with enough time. Digital detectors will show you the levels on a screen so you can see whether the air is safe, or if it is growing more dangerous. You can even have higher tech systems installed that can sync with your home monitoring system, alerting authorities if there is a carbon monoxide leak while you are away.
Knowing what to look for, what to do when a carbon monoxide leak occurs, and how you can prevent serious damage is an important part of keeping you and your family safe. If you are unsure of the best sensors to get for your home or how you properly care for your appliances to keep them from emitting too much carbon monoxide or accumulating build up, contact a home security professional today.