Carbon monoxide or CO is a toxic gas that is normally associated with wintertime heating and poor ventilation but is also a concern during the fall, spring and summer months. CO is easily absorbed by the lungs and starves the body of the vital oxygen we need to live.
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the normal combustion process when burning materials such as charcoal briquettes, as well as combustion from gas and propane tools and vehicles. This means that ATV, boat, and motorcycle exhaust as well as campfire smoke and using portable cook tops inside a tent can be disastrous. When properly ventilated, the CO passes into the atmosphere and does not cause any injury. But, when those items are used in an enclosed area, carbon monoxide can build up quickly and cause life-threatening injuries to those exposed.
Additionally, carbon monoxide can become trapped inside your home inadvertently simply by utilizing any of these potential sources too close to the home. CO gas can filter into the home through open windows, the common walls and ceiling of an attached garage, basement ventilation grates, walls with air leaks and poor insulation, and other openings. CO builds up over time, potentially sickening home occupants.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, dizziness, nausea and light-headedness. Unfortunately these symptoms are very similar to those of other illnesses such as heat stroke and even the flu. However, it’s the context in which these symptoms are experienced that holds the clues as to what you may be experiencing. Anytime you experience these symptoms after being exposed to a potential source of carbon monoxide, get away from, or turn off, the source, open windows, and if the symptoms continue, seek medical attention.
In order to protect yourself from inadvertent poisoning, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed in every level of the home, including the basement, and be checked regularly.
For more information regarding safeguarding yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning, please contact us at Geisel Heating, Air Conditioning and Plumbing. We’ve been providing reliable service to Northeast Ohio clients for more than 75 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio 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.
For those Do it Yourselfers who would rather take control of your own indoor comfort, you can shop our online store for replacement parts, products and accessories!
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