Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer or the silent threat. This is because it is colourless, odorless, and silent. It is formed as a by-product of combustion of carbon-based fuels such as natural gas, propane (LPG), coal, coke, furnace oil, kerosene, and wood. Carbon monoxide is absorbed by breathing and is 245 times more absorbent to the body than oxygen. Symptoms of poisoning can be misdiagnosed as flu since they are very similar.

Symptoms of Carbon monoxide poisoning

  • Persistent, severe headaches
  • Dizziness and blurred vision
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Confusion, weakness of muscles
  • Insomnia and constantly tired
  • Chest pain
  • Fainting
  • Cherry coloured skin

The appliances that can generate CO within your house are the furnace, boiler, water heater, un-vented fuel burning heaters and solid fuel burning appliances. The three main problems are improper installation, chimney or vent blocked by bricks or bird’s nests etc. and inadequate ventilation, providing insufficient air to properly fuel the combustion process.

Improper installation can be easily checked by referring to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and by having your heating system checked yearly by a qualified professional. A flue system should be checked by a professional at the beginning and end of each burning season and cleaned accordingly. A flue that is in poor condition will be easily spotted and the appropriate action taken prior to a disaster.

Supplying adequate combustion air is very simple. A window opened in the room of the appliance is a good, cheap method but not too practical since it will allow cold air in unless you close it when the appliance goes off. A better solution is a Plusaire correctly sized for the house. It will supply not only adequate combustion air but also ventilation air to compensate for any of the exhaust fans that tend to depressurize the house.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning / Educational Video

 

 

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