Every year, over 20,000 people are rushed to the E.R and over 400 people actually become fatally sick because of Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced by the combustion of hydrocarbon fuels and can settle in poorly ventilated spaces in the home. Sources of CO in the home are heaters, furnaces, fireplaces, gas ovens, cars (leaving a car running with the garage door closed is very dangerous), gas-powered engines, and anything other gas powered source. Without proper detection devices, CO can build up in the home without anyone noticing until it’s too late.
What are the symptons of CO poisoning?
When there is a significant amount of CO in the air, you will start to feel lightheaded. You may develop a headache, start feeling nauseous, chest pains, and become confused because of the build up of the gas in your blood. Many people describe it as having a sudden onset of the flu. If you breathe in too much, you will pass out and possible breathe in a fatal amount. Many fatal cases happen while someone is asleep or drunk because they can die before having any symptoms.
How Much CO is Dangerous?
- On average, our air contains 1-4 ppm (parts per million) of carbon monoxide.
- 5 ppm- lowest level detected by certain CO detectors
- 9 ppm- The EPA suggest limiting exposure for 8 hours and only 3 times per year.
- 10 ppm- Common level associated with increased heart failure.
- 25 ppm- Most amount allowed in Parking Garages
- 200 ppm- level most adults start experiences symptoms (headaches, nausea) within 3 hours. OSHA recommends evacuation of building at this level.
- 400 ppm- Can become life threatening after 2-3 hours of exposure.
- 800 ppm- Adults will start developing symptoms within 45 minutes and become unconscious or fatally ill after 2 hours.
- 2000 ppm- EPA standards on new vehicles.
- 3000+ppm- typical emissions of gas powered engines. Death will occur within 30 min.
How Do I Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The most effective way to prevent CO poisoning is to install Carbon Monoxide detectors in every room, in hallways, and any other area there is a concern.
Install a CO detector at least 15 feet away from all producing appliances. Have your heater, water heaters, fireplaces, and any other fuel burning appliance checked once a year. Ensure proper ventilation to prevent the build up of gases. Never burn charcoal or use a flame less heater indoors. Properly maintain your chimney/fireplace and have it inspected before each cold season. Do not leave your car running in the garage for a longer period of time, even with the door open.
If you experience any symptoms while you are in your room, or notice any cracks in your chimney or any other concern, call a professional technician and get it inspected. Prevention is the best action against Carbon monoxide Poisoning.