Long term exposure to carbon monoxide gas can cause chronic illnesses. Carbon monoxide poisoning can also be fatal in higher quantities. It is a completely colourless and odourless gas, and that is why it is known as the silent killer. Carbon monoxide poisoning is typically caused by faulty gas heaters or gas log fireplaces.
Carbon Monoxide Testing
It is important to get carbon monoxide testing done when you have a gas appliance at your home or at work. Since it's a colourless, tasteless and odourless gas, it can't be detected without proper equipment. In most cases, carbon monoxide is produced by faulty heaters as the gas doesn't burn properly and leads to production of carbon monoxide which causes poisoning.
The most common cause is the lack of servicing. If an appliance is not serviced regularly, it might block the airways with dust or lint or other things and that can lead to generation of carbon monoxide. CO poisoning could also happen due to a malfunctioning appliance. Therefore, it is recommended to get the gas appliances serviced regularly by a licensed and experienced technician.
Signs of Carbon Monoxide Leak
Here's a list of some of the common symptoms that might indicate the presence of carbon monoxide in the immediate environment:
The gas flame might burn orange or yellow instead of the regular blue colour. It typically means presence of an impurity, and it could be carbon monoxide. If the fire is burning slow or is hard to light, it could be due to presence of carbon monoxide.
If carbon monoxide is present in the air you are breathing, you might have difficulty in breathing, you might have chest pains or you might feel tired or might have a bad headache or you might find it difficult to breathe. If you are experiencing these symptoms for no apparent reason, you should immediately call in a trained technician to check for carbon monoxide leak.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning – Prevention
1. Make sure the appliances are serviced regularly. It is recommended to get them tested at least once every year before the start of every season.
2. The room where the appliance is being used should be fully ventilated.
3. If you have any chimneys or flues, call in an expert to clean them regularly.
4. Observe the colour of the flame and in case the flame is burning orange or yellow, it might be due to presence of carbon monoxide. Call in the experts to check for the presence of carbon monoxide.
A carbon monoxide detector works as an alarm that alerts you to the presence of carbon monoxide. There are many kinds of alarms available in the market and therefore, it is important to buy a good quality alarm that is highly sensitive and quickly detects and alerts you to carbon monoxide leakage.
The alarm should continuously display the level of carbon monoxide detected in the air in terms of PPM. Keep in mind that presence of even low levels of carbon monoxide which is less than 30 PPM can lead to chest pain, nausea, dizziness, headache or shortness of breath among other things. If the exposure is long-term, it might cause nervous system damage and heart disease.
Overall, carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous and odourless gas. It is impossible to detect without proper appliance/alarm. You should call in an expert to install a high quality carbon monoxide alarm. You should also make sure all the gas appliances are serviced at least once every year.