WHY IS IT DANGEROUS?
If there is CO in the air you breath, it will enter your blood system the same way oxygen does, through your lungs. The CO displaces the oxygen in your blood, depriving your body of oxygen. When the CO displaces enough oxygen, you suffocate.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?
Continued exposure or high concentrations -
Long term exposure to low concentrations -
WHY IS IT CALLED THE "GREAT IMMITATOR"?
WHO IS AT GREATER RISK?
Note: Vulnerable people who are exposed even to low levels of CO for long time periods may have similar health affects as those exposed to high concentrations of CO.
WHAT CAN PRODUCE CO IN OUR HOMES?Anything that burns fuel or generates combustion gases including:
Solid fuels, such as wood, always produce carbon monoxide when they are burned. Gas and liquid fuels may produce no CO or very little.
WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SOURCES OF CARBON MONOXIDE?
1. Automobile exhaust in attached garages
This is responsible for 60% of all CO alarms. People who warm their cars up in the garage are trapping CO inside the garage. The CO can find its way into the home.
2. Gas cooking appliances
Reported to account for 20% of CO alarms.
3.1 Poor draft/venting for fuel burningappliances -
This is one of the most common and serious causes for CO build up and has been reported to account for up to 19% of CO alarms. The products of combustion are not being safely expelled to the exterior. This could be due to venting problems, such as blocked chimney flues or inadequate venting for appliances or fireplaces. Other problems include poor installation and negative air pressure in the house, causing backdrafting, often due to exhaust fans.
Other problems include:
3.2Poor combustion at furnace
Inadequate combustion air to the furnace can result in incomplete combustion. If the furnace has a cracked heat exchanger, it is possible to get CO into the circulating air. It is also imperative that we do not deprive our heating equipment and fuel burning appliances of air; especially in air-tight homes where running exhaust fans can result in a shortage of combustion air. Combustion air is essential for safe operation of furnaces, water heaters, and other fuel burning equipment.
A leak in a chimney or flue pipe.
3.4 Ventilation -
Are there more problems with carbon monoxide today than 30 years ago?
Yes, due to -
How can I guard against carbon monoxide poisoning?
The first line of defense is to have your home heating systems, fuel burning appliances, flues and chimneys checked and/or cleaned annually.
Specialists should check for:
The second line of defense is a CO detector.
How do they work?
Types of sensors:
The detectors are supposed to sound an alarm when exposed to a set level of CO (measured in parts per million) over a specific time period. These levels or standards are set by UL (Underwriters Laboratories).
Old Standard (Units manufactured between October 1, 1995 and October 1, 1998)
First Generation CO detectors
New Standard (Units manufactured after October 1, 1998)
The UL Standard was revised and any detector manufactured after October 1, 1998
To put levels into perspective: Note: These studies are generally done on young, healthy people. These symptoms can change drastically depending on age, sex, weight, habits (e.g. smoking), and most importantly, your health.
• Reliability of the detectors.
Where to install a CO detector?
Things to look for when buying a CO detector?
How does all of this relate to your home inspection?
A home inspection may reveal a potential Carbon Monoxide source.
Common deficiencies found during inspections include:
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