Explaining Carbon Monoxide

At Purity of Earth we want you and you families to stay healthy in every possible way. As we are now deep into Winter, and stoves and fires are burning regularly, carbon monoxide is always something in the back of your mind. A lot of us know the basics, that carbon monoxide can infiltrate your home without you ever knowing until symptoms strike. So let’s go through some details, so that you can implement some simple precautionary measures.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a highly poisonous gas that can be fatal if inhaled in large amounts. You can't see or smell carbon monoxide gas, which makes it even more dangerous.

What Can Cause It?

A malfunctioning or inappropriately used heating, cooking, or ventilation system in the home can allow leakage of carbon monoxide gas into the air, leaving you breathing toxic gas without knowing it.

Carbon monoxide can come from a number of sources within the home:

  • Furnace systems and chimneys with leaks
  • Kerosene heaters
  • Wood-burning stoves and fireplaces
  • Gas ranges
  • Appliances fueled by gasoline
  • Gas-fueled space heaters
  • Fireplaces that aren't vented

What Damage Can It Do?

When carbon monoxide gas contaminates the air, you breathe in more carbon monoxide than oxygen. Once it enters the body, carbon monoxide gets into the blood, where it takes the place of oxygen; this happens most notably in vital organs like the brain and heart, which then become oxygen-deprived.

The first symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:

  • Chest tightness or shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Nausea
  • Confusion
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness

Carbon monoxide poisoning may cause some of the immediate short-term effects noted above, but it can quickly turn serious, with nausea, vomiting, and loss of muscle coordination coming next. Inhaling high quantities of carbon monoxide can quickly lead to unconsciousness and suffocation. If you suffer any of these symptoms, with no obvious cause, you should immediately see a doctor.

Signs to Watch For

A common sign of carbon monoxide in your home is condensation on the walls and windows, mostly in the vicinity of a fuel burning appliance.

Another sign is a stale smell in your home, even when it has been cleaned recently.

Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

The best defence against carbon monoxide gas is preventing its spread in your home and other surroundings. Observe some important aspects of home safety, such as installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and office. Here are some simple ways of defending against carbon monoxide and protecting your home and family:

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Using a reliable carbon monoxide detector is the only way you can be aware of carbon monoxide in your home. Install a carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home. It is a small, simple, affordable gadget that every home should have. If you can spend lots of money on gadgets like Chromecasts, AirPods and the like, then surely you should have a gadget that could detect a potentially fatal threat to you and your family.

Proper Ventilation

Whilst we all want to be snug and warm in the Winter, be careful not to overdo it by shutting out every conceivable form of airflow through your home. Don’t operate fuel-burning appliances in enclosed surroundings. Never block the airflow to a fireplace. If you use space heaters, make sure they have sufficient room for ventilation. Open your windows, even in the cold of the Winter, to ensure that your home is properly ventilated at all times.

Appliance Inspection and Care

If any of your appliances is malfunctioning, immediately stop use and have it repaired or replaced. Make sure that you have your heater or furnace, fireplace and chimney inspected annually by a certified professional. This will ensure that the vents and chimneys are checked regularly and free from soot and other deposits.

Professional Installation

Don’t be a hero! Experts are there for a reason. Never install gas stoves or furnaces yourself, as improper installation of fuel-burning appliances can have disastrous effects.