One of the biggest hazards in a modern home – especially one that uses gas-fueled appliances – is carbon monoxide (CO). It’s an odorless and colorless gas, meaning you have no way of detecting it yourself, without the help of a detection device. If you ingest enough CO at once, or over a long enough period of time, it can lead to illness or even death.
How Carbon Monoxide Is Made
When a fossil fuel is burned, the process requires oxygen and carbon dioxide is the main byproduct of combustion. When there isn’t enough oxygen present, carbon monoxide can form instead. A situation like this can be caused by malfunctioning equipment or poor venting, among other factors.
Any fuel-burning appliance has the potential to produce CO, the most common of which are cars, generators, furnaces, BBQ grills and fireplaces.
How to Combat Carbon Monoxide
The first step you should take is to limit the formation of CO. The key aspect of prevention is ventilation, in order to supply enough oxygen and allow any CO to dissipate into the atmosphere. Never operate a piece of equipment that burns fuel in an enclosed space like a garage or shed.
The second step is to use CO detectors to protect yourself from CO buildup in your indoor air. Take care to place at least one detector per floor in an open area like a hallway. One should be placed near the main sleeping area, too. The detector will monitor the air constantly and sound an alarm if the CO levels start to rise. Make sure to test these regularly along with your smoke alarm.
Finally, if you do hear an alarm from your CO detector, turn off any appliance or device that may be causing the leak, and leave the home immediately. Call your gas company or a local fire department to check out the situation.
For professional safety advice for your Fresno area home, please contact us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning as soon as possible. We have served the area for over 40 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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