Carbon monoxide (CO) isn’t a substance you should take lightly. It can be fatal, even in relatively small doses. The biggest problem is that you can’t see, smell or taste the gas, making it undetectable by human means. You may recognize symptoms of exposure, like confusion, nausea and migraines, but if you don’t react quickly, it could be too late. Luckily, there are some things you can do to minimize the risk of CO and protect your family.
CO isn’t a magical gas that comes out of nowhere; it’s a result of incomplete combustion. When a fuel is burned, it normally makes harmless carbon dioxide as one of the byproducts. But when there’s limited oxygen available, carbon monoxide is produced. This situation can arise when operating fuel-burning equipment in a small, enclosed area for a period of time. It can also occur if there’s damage to the equipment that affects air supply to the combustion chamber.
There are two key steps to preventing CO production in your home. Start by operating fuel-burning equipment outside whenever possible. Avoid the garage where gas can be trapped. The second thing you must do is regularly inspect any fuel-burning equipment for damage. If you don’t know how to do this, have a professional do it. Since you can’t take a gas stove or similar appliance outside, it’s important to inspect it regularly and perform maintenance on it.
Even if you do everything right, there are many ways CO can get into your home. The only way to detect it is with a CO detector. These devices look like smoke detectors and operate in a similar fashion. By measuring the level of CO in the air, they can alert you if there’s a problem. If you hear the alarm, get everyone out of the house immediately and call emergency services.
If you have any questions about carbon monoxide and your Arlington Heights home, contact the HVAC experts at Tempco Heating & Air Conditioning.