We are exposed to different substances to keep us alive, such as drinking water or inhaling oxygen in our daily lives. However, not all substances benefit our bodies. These days, a dangerous gas, sometimes called “The Silent Killer”, carbon monoxide, is gradually recognized in popularity.
This article will discuss what causes carbon monoxide in the home, symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, and possible ways to handle that killer gas.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is an odor-free and colorless gas that usually comes from the progress of burning fuels, such as coal, wood, propane, natural gas, etc.
This gas is highly toxic to our bodies because of the process of exiling the oxygen in our cells. Later, CO molecules occupy blood cells then causes a state of shortage of oxygen and poisoning.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide
To answer the question of how to test for carbon monoxide, we need to know its sources. There are many potential sources of CO: household devices, types of fuel we use, or how we operate the appliances.
Fuels Used In Home
In general, the fuels that emit CO through burning are:
- Natural gas
The above fuel types are usually used for daily heating and cooking.
Household appliances play important roles in our lives. However, these devices should be noted while operating because of the possibility of generating CO. Some typical appliances are:
- Clothes dryers
- Water heaters
- Gas and wood stoves
- Gas and kerosene heaters
Other Possible Causes
Other probable causes can come from malfunction, improper installation, or poor maintenance of the household appliances.
Some visible signs prove that household devices can produce CO and put us in danger:
- Yellow or orange instead of blue flames from gas burners
- Streaks of soot or yellow stains around appliances
- Excess moisture
- Pilot lights malfunction
Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
It is difficult to determine CO poisoning because carbon monoxide smells nothing and can’t be seen. However, if we carefully look at our physical changes, we can handle them actively.
The first symptoms may include:
- Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
- Feeling tired and sick
The symptoms worsen whenever we are exposed to the gas in higher intensity. In some cases, victims can lose balance, blur vision, faint, and eventually lose consciousness.
To people who significantly inhale CO for a long time, “What does carbon monoxide do to the body?” may be the biggest question. In those cases, there is a higher possibility of encountering serious complications, including
- Heart disease
Coronary heart disease is an undesirable outcome of severe CO exposure. In the state of coronary heart disease, patients may face angina (chest pains) and even heart attack.
- A decline in brain function
In short, progressive worsening of memory and concentration may result from long-time CO exposure. Besides, it can lead to vision and hearing disability and Parkinsonism.
- Damage to the unborn
Negative impacts on babies include low weight, stillbirth or death within the first four weeks of birth, and behavioral problems.
- The first signs of CO poisoning on bodies are similar to food poisoning and flu.
- The difference is CO poisoning does not cause a high temperature.
Solutions For Carbon Monoxide In Your Home
There are numerous accessible ways to deal with the problem of how to get carbon monoxide out of your house. Follow the below guide to avoid wretched incidents.
Aware Of The Signs
Whenever we feel negative changes in our bodies, we should immediately pay attention to those symptoms and apply some quick solutions. Here are some warning signs:
- People in the house have similar symptoms
- The symptom severity decreases when we go out
- The intensity of symptoms is higher when household appliances are on
- Install appliances according to the manufacturer’s instructions by a certified technician.
- Regularly maintain appliances and equipment to avoid CO leakage.
- Ensure ventilation requirements are followed.
- When a CO leak is suspected, turn off household appliances and open all doors as well as windows.
- How to detect low levels of carbon monoxide?
→ Aware of the signs above and use CO detectors for better alarm.
- Who do I call to check my house for carbon monoxide?
→ Contact the gas utility company, maintenance appliances service, or a qualified technician to check the problem.
- What should I remember to avoid CO build-up?
→ Never burn fuels in enclosed spaces, turn off burn-fuel appliances when not in use, make sure rooms are well ventilated, do not block air vents, install extractor fans in the kitchen.
In conclusion, what causes carbon monoxide in the home varies, from household appliances to how we use them.
For a happy and healthy life, we should notice minor changes to handle immediately the problems that arise. CO poisoning is avoidable and controllable, don’t let that silent killer end our lives.