Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, colorless, toxic gas that is generated when burning fossil fuels such as LP gas and Natural Gas without enough oxygen to support complete combustion. When carbon monoxide is present in amounts above 100ppm, there is a significant risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and are an immediate danger to human health.
Levels of carbon monoxide can be analyzed and measured with test equipment typically carried by heating contractors, firemen and some engineers. Levels of 55 ppm or greater are considered hazardous environments and are limited exposure environments as recommended by OSHA, 35 ppm by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and 25 ppm The American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. But any exposure over 9 parts per million is not recommended for extended periods of time.
Typical symptoms include headaches, nausea, dizziness, irritability and unconsciousness. Take immediate action by getting the victim to fresh air quickly if any of these symptoms are present.
Ways to prevent carbon monoxide production in your furnace:
- Keep storage items 18 inches away from your furnace cabinet. This will allow the burners to properly collect air for the combustion cycle.
- Have a trained professional inspect, clean, and tune-up central heating system (furnaces, flues, and chimneys) annually. Repair any leaks promptly.
- Also have your heating contractor check the carbon monoxide levels in your home while your furnace is in operation.
- Have your heating contractor check the vents for your furnace and/or gas hot water heater.
Typically these tasks are performed with a regular maintenance check by your heating contractor. It is recommended that you have your furnace checked every fall for proper heating conditions and equipment operation.
Call Alexander Heating and Air Conditioning in Wake County, North Carolina area for a system checkup this fall.