Importance of Carbon Monoxide Testing In Your Home

November 10, 2020

The chilly air has arrived in York, ON, and the surrounding areas, and frigid winter temperatures won’t be far behind. This cold air will have you reaching for the thermostat, which will trigger your furnace to burn gas and turn it into heat. Furnaces are the leading indoor source of carbon monoxide, which is why it’s important to test for this poisonous gas in your home.

Where Carbon Monoxide Comes From

When your furnace burns propane or natural gas, carbon monoxide is one of the waste products from the combustion process. In a properly functioning furnace, the gas is vented out of the combustion chamber, through the furnace’s flue, and to the outdoors. Carbon monoxide gas is also produced when charcoal, petrol, or diesel are burned.

How Carbon Monoxide Gets Into Your Home

A malfunction within the furnace or flue ventilation system could cause the carbon monoxide gas to seep into the living areas of your home. This gas is heavier than air, and it settles in the lower parts of your home where you spend time. Some common causes of carbon monoxide gas seeping into your home include a gas leak, cracked heat exchanger, malfunctioning safety valve, or crack or obstruction in the flue.

What Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do

Carbon monoxide alarms are designed to alert you to the presence of an unhealthy level of carbon monoxide gas. They warn you when the level is unsafe for a healthy adult. Keep in mind that babies, the elderly, and people with chronic health conditions may have a lower threshold for an unsafe level of carbon monoxide gas. If your household includes a vulnerable person, it’s best to have a carbon monoxide detector that shows a digital readout of the level. This would allow you to evacuate the home when the vulnerable person’s threshold for unsafe carbon monoxide is reached.

When a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sounds

A home carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm before carbon monoxide levels reach 100 parts per million for 90 minutes. If the level reaches 200 parts per million over 35 minutes, it will also emit an alarm. These detectors will also sound if the carbon monoxide level reaches 400 parts per million over 15 minutes.

Know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

A healthy adult will start to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning if they breathe in a concentration of 100 parts per million for more than two hours. At a higher level, such as 400 parts per million, a healthy adult will experience symptoms within 15 to 20 minutes. In the early stage of carbon monoxide poisoning, you may feel dizzy, fatigued, or breathless. As the level or your duration of exposure increases, you may develop a severe headache, nausea, or confusion. This will progress to confusion, impaired judgment, irritability, and loss of consciousness.

What to Do If Your Home Has a High Carbon Monoxide Level

Carbon monoxide detectors give you enough time to evacuate your home. If the alarm sounds, get everyone out of your house, including your pets. Call for emergency furnace repairs. If anyone has symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call for emergency medical assistance. Don’t use your furnace until it’s been repaired and the carbon monoxide issue has been resolved.

How Often to Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide detectors have a lifespan of about five to seven years. After this time, you’ll need to replace the unit. Their batteries should be tested every six months. Replace the batteries when their charge is less than 20% full. Install new batteries in the carbon monoxide detector every two years.

Even if the detector is hardwired into your home, it needs a battery backup. The battery backup keeps you safe in case of a power outage. During a power outage, many households use a generator or fireplace for heat. These solutions could also cause carbon monoxide poisoning, which is why you still need a functioning alarm to alert you to possible danger.

Comfort Masters Ltd. is your trusted installer of carbon monoxide alarms in York and the surrounding area. We’re also ready to provide you with dependable gas fireplaces, tankless water heaters, indoor air quality solutions, and air filtration systems. Our heating and air conditioning maintenance, repair, and replacement services keep your home comfortable all year long. To learn more about why testing for carbon monoxide is important, call us at Comfort Masters Ltd. today.