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What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

What You Need to Know About Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide has no color, no odor, and no taste. Lethal amounts of carbon monoxide (CO) can accumulate when fuel is not burned properly, resulting in incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as gas, oil, coal and wood that are used in boilers, engines, gas fired furnaces, gas ranges, gas logs, water heaters, solid fuel appliances and more. You will not be able to detect CO in your home by smell or sight.

It’s critical that your home has good ventilation, your appliances are properly maintained at all times, and that you ALWAYS have working CO detectors installed. Many fire alarms and smoke alarms also will detect for carbon monoxide, but not all of them. If yours doesn’t or you aren’t sure whether or not they do, strongly consider replacing them with new ones that do detect the deadly gas. They will send out visual and audible alarms when there is a dangerous build-up of CO.

Even in small quantities, carbon monoxide can cause serious health problems, particularly in children and the elderly. Millions of unsuspecting homeowners are exposed to low levels of CO and don’t even know it. Unfortunately, U.L. listed CO alarms don’t go off until your family has been exposed to 70 ppm (parts per million) for over 3 ½ hours! Most international limits for unsafe levels, including OSHA and the World Health Organization’s guidelines, are between 15-35 ppm. EC&S offers a carbon monoxide detector that alerts at 10 ppm and will react much quicker for better protection than the detectors available at the big box stores.

Carbon monoxide produces serious effects to people exposed, including: severe headaches, dizziness, nausea, convulsions, loss of consciousness and finally, death, which can be within a few hours if the exposure level is high. Carbon monoxide poisons a person by entering the lungs via normal breathing and displaces oxygen from the bloodstream. With this interruption of normal oxygen supply, the functions of the heart, brain and other vital organs suffer critically.

To protect yourself and your family, it is important to maintain your appliances and tune-ups are crucial, especially for your furnace. It’s recommended that you have EC&S furnace repair service perform preventive maintenance once per year on your heating system. Keep chimneys and fireplaces clean and always make sure your carbon monoxide alarms are properly working and batteries are not low. Other precautions include never use charcoal grills indoors, never use an unvented combustion heater overnight or in a room where you are sleeping, and never run your car engine inside your garage with the garage door down.

Contact EC&S today to schedule an appointment for a check-up on your furnace and air conditioning system to ensure your unit is operating safely and properly. Ask us about our carbon monoxide detector that alerts at 10 ppm instead of 70 ppm! You can call us or fill out our brief contact form online. We proudly serve Lancaster, Dauphin, Lebanon counties, and all surrounding areas.

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