Monthly Archives: February 2012

Carbon Monoxide and Your HVAC System

Carbon monoxide is a by-product of combustion, present whenever fuel is burned. It is produced by common home appliances, such as gas or oil furnaces, fireplaces, charcoal grills, and wood burning stoves. It is odorless and colorless; an unseen foe in an unprotected home.

Any of these sources can contribute to a CO problem in the home. If a home is vented properly, carbon monoxide will most likely be safely vented to the outside. But in today’s “energy efficient” homes this is frequently not the case. Tightly constructed/sealed homes can trap CO-polluted air in a home year-round. Furnace heat exchangers can crack, vents can become blocked, inadequate air supply for combustion appliances can cause conditions known as backdrafting or reverse stacking, which force contaminated air back into the home.

Everyone is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning. Experts believe, however, that individuals with greater oxygen requirements such as unborn babies, infants, children, senior citizens, and people with coronary or respiratory problems are at greater risk.

Why is carbon monoxide so dangerous?

The great danger of carbon monoxide is its attraction to hemoglobin in the bloodstream. When breathed in, carbon monoxide replaces the oxygen which cells need to function. When CO is present in the air, it rapidly accumulates in the blood, causing symptoms similar to the flu, such as headaches, fatigue, nausea, dizzy spells, confusion, and irritability. As levels increase, vomiting, loss of consciousness, and eventually brain damage or death can result.

At Home Comfort, we frequently receive calls from our customers worried about carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes.  We can quickly make a visit to your home and use a detector to determine first if there is any carbon monoxide present and if there is we can find the leak and fix it.  If you are concerned that you may have a leak or just want some reassurance that your family is safe, give us a call to schedule a visit.

Reference:

http://www.extension.iastate.edu/pages/communications/co/co1.html