Should I Be Worried About Carbon Monoxide in My Home?

Now that cooler temperatures have arrived in Palm Desert, CA, you’ll turn to your furnace to keep your house warm. Many furnaces use natural gas as a fuel source. The combustion process creates some waste products, one of which is carbon monoxide gas. This gas is a poison, and it has the potential to cause life-threatening effects. It’s important to know how this poisonous gas gets into your home, how you can find out if it’s there, and what to do about it.

What Is Carbon Monoxide Gas?

Carbon monoxide gas is a molecule consisting of one atom of carbon and one atom of oxygen. This gas has no odor, color, or taste. The only way for you to know it’s there is to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.

Where Carbon Monoxide Gas Comes From

Carbon monoxide comes from burning petroleum products. This includes gasoline, propane, natural gas, diesel fuel, and charcoal. A malfunctioning gas-powered appliance or furnace is a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning in households. During the winter months of the year, a furnace problem is the likely source of carbon monoxide gas in your residence. Improper use of the oven as a source of heat or of a gas-burning space heater could also contaminate your home with carbon monoxide gas.

How Carbon Monoxide Causes Poisoning

Your red blood cells normally carry oxygen to all of your tissues. Carbon monoxide takes the place of some of the oxygen molecules. The result is that your brain and tissues are starved of oxygen. It only takes a few minutes of reduced oxygen for cells to die.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Awareness of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning allows you to take action. Your action plan should include evacuating your home and calling for emergency medical assistance. The symptoms of early-stage carbon monoxide poisoning resemble intoxication and many common illnesses, such as influenza. They include a dull headache, weakness, fatigue, and nausea. If the level of carbon monoxide increases or you have long exposure to a low level, you could develop worse symptoms, including vomiting, dizziness, confusion, and disorientation. Severe carbon monoxide poisoning symptoms include shortness of breath, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.

Complications of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

High or long exposure to carbon monoxide gas can have lasting effects, which is why you need to evacuate your house as soon as your alarm goes off. Some of the possible complications include brain damage, heart damage, fetal death, and miscarriage. Death is a possible outcome of severe carbon monoxide poisoning.

Who Is Most Affected By Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

Anyone can be overcome by carbon monoxide gas. However, babies, the elderly, people with chronic respiratory problems, and people with heart disease are the most at risk for severe complications or death from carbon monoxide poisoning. Pregnant women also have a higher risk of complications. That’s because the fetus absorbs carbon monoxide quickly, which could lead to fetal distress or poisoning.

How to Reduce the Risk of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Your Home

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in your house. Install a carbon monoxide detector. They have an alarm that sounds if the level of carbon monoxide indoors is unsafe. Some of the alarms automatically place a call for emergency assistance when there’s an unsafe carbon monoxide level. Test the alarm monthly, and replace its backup battery every six months. Get your furnace serviced every year. Avoid using a charcoal or gas grill or gas space heater in your home as well. Don’t idle the engine of your vehicle, lawnmower, or any other equipment in an attached garage or near open doors or windows.

What a Carbon Monoxide Detector Does

A carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm if there’s an unsafe level of carbon monoxide in your home. The alarm is triggered by a high level of poisonous gas. The purpose of the alarm is to give you time to get out of your house before you lose consciousness. It’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector outside of each bedroom and on the lowest level of your residence.

Breeze Air Conditioning is Palm Desert’s trusted provider of furnace repairs. You can also count on us for thermostat and carbon monoxide detector installation. Homeowners throughout the area turn to us for dependable heating and cooling maintenance, repair, and replacement services as well. For more information about carbon monoxide, give us a call today.

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