The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide in the Home
Everyone knows the danger of carbon monoxide. Chances are you’ve heard a horror story of an unfortunate carbon monoxide incident, and you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. But aside from the most horrific possibilities, carbon monoxide can have physical effects besides death, and you and your home could be at risk. Keep reading to learn how you can make sure your home is safe from carbon monoxide and how an HVAC company in Albuquerque can help.
Carbon Monoxide 101
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas, so unlike when you have a natural gas leak in your home, there is no scent to alert you that something is awry. And the reason that it’s associated with HVAC is that carbon monoxide is created when there is incomplete combustion of fuel (like lack of proper ventilation, build up of debris etc). In fact, the most effective way to prevent CO poisoning is having carbon monoxide detectors functioning in the home, and making sure you are performing maintenance on fuel-burning appliances.
According to the CDC,
“approximately 400 people die from unintentional CO exposure in the United States every year.” And while this number is relatively small compared to other causes of death because it is so preventable, it’s essential to educate ourselves on how to prevent it.
It’s also important to know that the beginning symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to other illnesses, so it’s easy to overlook a problem you could have in your home. Symptoms include headaches, dizziness, nausea and vomiting, breathlessness, weakness, confusion, collapsing, and then finally losing consciousness.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning in Albuquerque
Of course, one of the most obvious things to do is make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Make sure to replace the batteries every few months or make sure they’re functioning correctly.
However, at Bosque Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, we’ve seen first hand how often that’s not enough. Carbon monoxide detectors effectively prevent death, but unfortunately, they don’t pick up carbon monoxide levels until they’re already dangerously high. Bosque co-owner Carlos Griego shared that he’s even had a friend who passed out and knocked out a few teeth when she fell because of carbon monoxide poisoning.
That’s why when we perform biannual HVAC maintenance, we use our carbon monoxide detectors in your ductwork to detect even low levels of carbon monoxide that could be causing illness. Our techs use a detector that costs over $1,000 and is calibrated annually. Surely you can see how this detector is more effective than the one you bought for $20 at the hardware store.
And, since the incomplete burning of fuel is the main source of carbon monoxide it makes sense that levels would be higher in the ductwork and around the furnace. This can happen when debris is blocking proper ventilation and with wear and tear on parts over time. Even the New Mexico Poison Center shares that the best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is
“make sure that all fuel-burning appliances in your home are installed professionally and maintained properly.”
They also share older furnaces, especially, when not properly maintained, can burn dirty and build up unhealthy amounts of carbon monoxide.
People who have a wood-burning fireplace in the home also need to make sure their chimney is cleaned at least once each year by a professional chimney sweep to make sure everything is running properly. There are a few places local to Albuquerque that do it, and all of them have many good Google reviews. We’d recommend any of them if you’re looking for a chimney sweep to help make sure your chimney is free and clear of any trouble.
What Do I Do Now?
If you want to make sure your home stays safe from carbon monoxide, really, the best things you can do are check those carbon monoxide detectors and make sure you have both fall and spring HVAC maintenance appointments each year. Check out a past blog to learn more about what fall maintenance appointments are like. At these regular appointments, our techs not only test for carbon monoxide with our high-level equipment, but we replace any parts that are starting to show wear and tear, and clean any parts that build up dust and debris throughout the year.
Protect your home and your family, and make sure you prioritize bi-annual air conditioning and furnace maintenance. Not only will it help your HVAC system run more optimally, but it will give you more peace of mind that you and your loved ones are safe in your home.