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February 13, 2013
Unintentional carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning results in about 15,000 emergency room visits and 500 deaths every year.
Often times CO poisoning is misdiagnosed as the flu or some other illness due to symptoms.
And every Lawton-area homeowner is at risk for this odorless, tasteless, colorless gas.
Signs of CO poisoning
Carbon monoxide is measured in parts per million (ppm). The permissible exposure limits for different government organizations range from 25ppm to 50ppm. Permissible levels are even lower for children and the elderly.
If you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, contact a medical professional immediately. Exposure to carbon monoxide may result in the following symptoms:
- Low concentrations - fatigue, dizziness, headache
- Moderate concentrations - flu-like symptoms, impaired vision, shortness of breath
- High concentrations - vomiting, loss of consciousness, death
How is carbon monoxide created?
Carbon monoxide is a gas that results from incomplete combustion.
And since burning never results in perfect combustion, CO is created whenever something is burned. This includes everything from running your car to burning a candle.
What are the most common sources of carbon monoxide poisoning in my home?
Unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning can result from high levels of the gas created by anything in your home that burns fuel.
The most common sources are:
- Gas furnaces
- Kerosene and gas space heaters
- Gas water heaters
- Gas stoves and ovens
- Generators (when used inside, in a garage or in a shop or workspace)
- Vehicles (left running in the garage)
How do I keep my family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning?
Since there are so many sources of carbon monoxide in your home, it may seem like you cannot escape this deadly gas. However, the secret to a healthy home is venting.
Gas furnaces, water heaters, stoves, ovens and fireplaces are all safe to operate when the exhaust is properly vented to the outside of your Lawton-area home and the appliances are regularly maintained.
(Generators should never be used indoors and you should never leave your car running in your garage.)
But in addition to prevention, you should add some protection: carbon monoxide monitors.
Why do I need a carbon monoxide monitor?
Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless and tasteless. It is invisible to humans' senses.
Therefore, the only way to know if it is in your home, is to install a carbon monoxide monitor. Carbon monoxide monitors will alert you before your home reaches dangerous levels of CO, so you can evacuate.
Unfortunately, stores only sell carbon detectors that passively sense when CO levels reach 70 ppm, which is double the 35 ppm allowable concentration for any 8 hour period according to the EPA.
Pippin Brothers offers a low-level CO monitor which continuously scans the air 24/7 actively checking for the presence of CO. The device can show levels as low as 5 ppm and as an audible alert at 15 ppm and elevated alarms at higher concentrations for maximum safety precaution.
Have more questions?
We can hardly cover all of the questions about carbon monoxide in a single blog. For more information on this dangerous, deadly and invisible gas, check out our carbon monoxide FAQ's. Or you can contact us online to get a carbon monoxide monitor installed in your home.
Pippin Brothers is the Lawton area's most trusted plumbing, heating and cooling company. We're 100% committed to your home comfort and safety.