What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is an extremely toxic gas that is tasteless, odorless, and colorless. It is formed during the process of partial fossil fuel combustion. Shortages of oxygen for the formation of carbon dioxide result in the formation of carbon monoxide instead. Naturally, carbon monoxide is found in very low levels, but these levels are increasing due to recurrent manmade processes.
Generally, carbon monoxide is formed as a result of some sort of heating process which may include burning wood or gas to run a building’s heating system or a boiler. In case of insufficient ventilation, these hazardous emissions may buildup inside an enclosed place and may present a risk to people dwelling in that area.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The indicators of carbon monoxide poisoning can comprise of frequent headache, weakness, nausea, shortness of breath, and mental confusion.
Most Common Causes of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
According to the fire chiefs at the San Antonio Professional Firefighters Association, a furnace that is not functioning properly is one of the main causes of poisoning due to carbon monoxide buildup. They advise people to get their furnaces tested and checked by furnace technicians who are certified and experienced right before winter arrives.
If the vent pipe of your furnace is close to the ground level, during below freezing temperature always make sure that it is not blocked by ice or snow.
Another main cause of carbon monoxide poisoning can be the garage. During winter most people tend to start their cars in their garages so that they would warm up before they leave the garage. If your garage is attached to your house, even if you leave the garage door open, carbon monoxide can seep into your house. If the weather stays extremely cold for a week or so, the carbon monoxide buildup inside your house can reach to dangerous levels without you knowing.
Most modern houses are usually air tight for energy efficiency. Even though this strategy of construction has a lot of benefits, carbon monoxide buildup happens more easily in such homes because there is no escape route. The best way to go about it is to let your vehicle warm up for a bit, back it out of the garage, and then shut the garage door.
For people who like to fix their cars in their garages during the cold season, carbon monoxide poisoning can be a potential problem. If you are fixing your car in your garage when it is too cold outside, never do it with the door closed.
In case of an emergency regarding carbon monoxide buildup or poisoning, you should always contact your local fire department.