The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Each year more than 400 Americans die from elevated levels of carbon monoxide. Additionally, it creates more than 20,000 emergency room visits. Carbon monoxide is a cloaked killer, moving in silence. It’s odorless, colorless and tasteless. It’s extremely detrimental to your health, but easily goes undetected.

Sources that emit carbon monoxide include unvented kerosene, and gas space heaters, leaking chimneys and furnaces, gas water heaters, wood stoves and fireplaces, gas stoves, generators and other gasoline powered equipment, automobile exhaust from attached garages, and tobacco smoke.

When carbon monoxide infiltrates into a poorly ventilated, contained space, your ability to absorb oxygen can diminish, which results in serious tissue damage.

This silent killer’s initial symptoms are flu-like, minus the fever. Dull headaches, weakness, dizziness and nausea are all possible signs of prolonged exposure. When carbon monoxide levels are especially high, mental confusion potentially occurs at a precipitous rate. Victims can lose muscle control without even being aware of the flu-like symptoms. This is when carbon monoxide can become fatal.

The repercussions of detrimental carbon monoxide levels are severe – it’s why monitoring and measuring it in your home is critical. The concentration of carbon monoxide is measured in parts per million (ppm). While health effects from exposure to carbon monoxide levels of approximately 1 to 70 ppm remain uncertain, most people never experience any symptoms. It’s when the levels increase above the 70-ppm threshold – and remain above it for sustained lengths – the symptoms become more noticeable and severe. Carbon monoxide levels above 150 ppm can render disorientation, unconsciousness, and even death.

To combat the chance of long-term carbon monoxide exposure, purchase a detector and alarm. Similar to smoke alarms, these devices can provide warning when carbon monoxide levels in the air approach dangerous heights. Alarms should be tested frequently and replaced every five years.

The best way to quell high levels of carbon monoxide is routine maintenance on appliances that produce it. And yes, that includes your heating appliance. With our Club and Club-Plus Memberships, you’ll receive annual tune-ups – a great way to combat carbon monoxide seepage.