Heating and Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Heating and Carbon Monoxide

December 21st, 2021

First thing first, every home should have a working carbon monoxide detector in them. No if’s and’s or but’s, literally there is no reason not to have one in your home. If a home has any gas appliances within them there is a risk of a gas leak. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless so without one a homeowner runs the risk of exposing themselves to this harmful gas. It’s best practice to just have one in your home; better safe than sorry. Businesses are mandated to have functioning smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors because they save lives.

Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide

Carbon dioxide is the result of complete combustion. Complete combustion is a chemical reaction in which a hydrocarbon reacts with oxygen to produce carbon dioxide and water. Complete combustion often involves a flame, think a lighter or a candle for complete combustion. Carbon dioxide is a non-reactive gas and dissipates quickly.

Carbon monoxide is the result of incomplete combustion. Incomplete combustion is from a limited air supply. Only half as much oxygen is added to the carbon, forming carbon monoxide. Which is CO vs carbon dioxide being CO2.

Carbon monoxide is not a naturally occurring gas in our atmosphere. It is created through the incomplete combustion of coal, natural gas, and oil. Low levels of oxygen and low temperatures lead to carbon monoxide in the combustion mixture. Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can be produced by any fuel-burning appliance, including furnaces, stoves, dryers, and cars; just to name a few.

Even low levels of these gases are dangerous. While carbon dioxide poisoning is rare in this ages, high concentration of it in a confined space are be toxic. Excess carbon dioxide uses up space in the air instead of oxygen, creating an environment for suffocation. Mild symptoms of this poisoning include headaches and dizziness.

We are linking the CDC’s safety tips to the end of this article. So, this heating season, stay safe stay healthy, and don’t forget to change you carbon monoxide detectors batteries.

CDC Prevention Tips

  • Check or change the batteries in your CO detector every six months. If you don’t have a battery-powered or battery back-up CO detector, buy one soon.
  • Have your heating system, water heater and any other gas, oil, or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.
  • Keep vents and flues free of debris. Debris can block ventilation lines.
  • Never leave the motor running in a vehicle parked in an enclosed or partially enclosed space, such as a garage.
  • Never run a motor vehicle, generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine less than 20 feet from an open window, door, or vent where exhaust can vent into an enclosed area.
  • Never use a charcoal grill, hibachi, lantern, or portable camping stove inside a home, tent, or camper.
  • Never run a generator, pressure washer, or any gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure, even if the doors or windows are open.
  • If you suspect CO poisoning, call 911 or a health care professional right away.


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