Carbon Monoxide’s Impact on Indoor Air Quality

March 18, 2020

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that’s created during the combustion of organic materials. The gas can enter the home from outside sources or occur inside the home from a fuel source. Home and business owners should regularly monitor their indoor air for the presence of carbon monoxide. Monitoring can help you prevent severe health issues for both humans and pets who live in or visit your environment.

Knowing what CO is, how it gets in the air, and how to find it is necessary if you want to avoid getting sick. This quick guide can help you get started.

Characteristics of Carbon Monoxide Gas

Carbon monoxide is an extremely poisonous gas. If the air you breathe contains CO, it can deprive the blood of oxygen and result in difficulty with breathing. Even short exposure times can damage the lungs and other parts of the body. Carbon monoxide cannot be easily detected by humans without a testing device because it has no odour, taste, or colour.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The poisonous effects of CO can cause irreversible brain and tissue damage and even death. People who are sleeping, intoxicated, or using other mind-altering medications or substances are especially affected because they are unaware and unable to respond quickly. The elderly, pets, young children, and the handicapped may also be unable to communicate about any physical symptoms they are experiencing. Some signs that can indicate you may be breathing in CO include:

  • Blurry vision
  • Dizziness
  • Headache
  • Fainting
  • Mental confusion
  • Physical weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Vomiting or nausea

If you suspect you’ve been exposed to carbon monoxide, move outside to fresh air and away from enclosed areas. You should then contact emergency services immediately.

Sources of Indoor Carbon Monoxide

Indoor exposure can occur when a home includes appliances that use wood, gas, or other fuels that are in operation. It can also be a recurring problem if a garage or driveway is close to the home. Exhaust from a vehicle can enter the home unseen. If the indoor spaces are improperly ventilated, the gas can become trapped and poison the indoor air. Here is a short list of sources that can produce deadly carbon monoxide:

  • Power tools
  • Furnaces
  • Gas fireplaces
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Generators
  • Grills
  • Motorized vehicles
  • Tobacco smoke
  • Water heaters
  • Wood-burning fireplaces

Keeping your heating and cooling systems clean and correctly maintained is very important to keeping CO at bay. Comfort Masters Ltd. offers experienced and dependable system maintenance and air quality services in Oshawa.

Checking for Carbon Monoxide

Correctly installing a series of carbon monoxide detectors can help you properly monitor CO inside your property. Place one near each area of the home where someone sleeps, such as a hallway that leads to the bedrooms. Add a detector anywhere a combustible fuel is used. Detectors are operated by batteries, and the batteries should be checked twice a year to ensure their freshness. You can make this easy to accomplish by adding this task to your regular maintenance routine for smoke detectors and air filters.

If you don’t have detectors or you would like further assurance about the air quality in your home, be sure to contact a licensed professional. Air quality testing can reveal the true condition of the air you breathe every day. Adding air filtration equipment or upgrading an existing ventilation system can solve many indoor air problems in your home.

How to Solve CO Air Quality Issues

Spending a few hours assessing your property can help you find potential CO issues and remove them effectively. This simple approach could save lives. Begin with these steps:

  • Make sure all fuel-burning appliances are properly installed and vented.
  • Keep vehicles and gas-powered lawnmowers and tools away from windows and doors.
  • Do not bring generators, camp stoves, or grills inside.
  • Have your fuel-burning fireplace cleaned and checked annually.
  • Never idle a vehicle in an enclosed garage and always verify the tailpipe is not obstructed. A blocked tailpipe can send CO into the vehicle.

Comfort Masters Ltd. has been serving Oshawa and the surrounding communities since 2005. We can assist you with repairs, installations, and annual maintenance services on heating and AC systems. Ask us about our services for gas fireplaces, tankless water heaters, and air filtration equipment. Give us a call at Comfort Masters Ltd. today to schedule an appointment for your property.