How to Measure Carbon Monoxide and Prevent Poisoning

How to measuring carbon monoxide
By | December 19, 2023
5 min read

Carbon monoxide (CO) is an underestimated health hazard. It is the leading cause of accidental poisoning at home, the impact of which leads to severe cardiovascular and neurobehavioral outcomes and even death.

Carbon monoxide is the second leading cause of poisoning in the United States with the highest risk in Wyoming, Alaska and Montana.
There’s a reason why it is called the silent killer. You can’t smell it or taste it or see it. It’s impossible to know if it’s there without the CO detector.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, tasteless, and colorless gas consists of one part carbon and one part oxygen. Its source is incompletely burned carbon fuel like wood, gasoline, coal, natural gas, and heating oil.

CO Sources:

  • Running cars in a poorly ventilated, enclosed space can lead to CO toxic level
  • House fires
  • Unvented furnaces, boilers, stoves: malfunctioning heating device
  • Stoves, Grills, and Fireplaces: burn wood or gas they produce CO
  • Smoking: people who smoke tobacco tend to have twice the normal quantity of CO in their bloodstream.

Why is CO dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is fatal. It is impossible to detect CO without a carbon monoxide detector.

At low levels of concentration, the symptoms are headache, fatigue, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. Prolonged exposure to moderate or high levels of CO can lead to disorientation, loss of consciousness, convulsions, and cardiac arrest. CO reduces blood oxygen and impairs the discharge of oxygen in tissues

When burned in an area with plenty of ventilation (outdoors), CO impact isn’t dangerous. It becomes hazardous only in an enclosed indoor space: basement, kitchen, or garage.

Indoor CO concentrations are generally low. Dangerous levels are subject to poor ventilation. CO is emitted from poorly maintained or improperly ventilated appliances such as stoves, fireplaces, and gas stoves. Indoor smoking also contributes to CO levels.

CO can enter the room from the outside. Vehicles are the main source of gas, especially when they remain idle for a long time near open windows and air intakes, also in attached garages.

How to detect carbon monoxide?

Detectors are a quick way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. You can install one yourself, following the instructions. When carbon monoxide is detected – you will hear the alarm signal.

Where to place a carbon monoxide detector?

To maintain home security against high CO levels place detectors in certain key areas.

  • Each level of the house should have a monitor. Basement and attic are also considered as levels.
  • Near bedrooms. The alarm sound should be heard even when you’re asleep.
  • Next to the attached garages. Cars release carbon monoxide when running, the gas can seep into the house through the garage.
  • Any place state laws recommend. Each State has specific regulations around CO monitor placement.

Install CO alarms in your home and check them twice a year.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning from NYC Poison Control Center.

The founder, CEO, and author of articles for the Green Ductors blog. Dedicated to his work, Dmytro strives to make people more aware of the importance of maintaining the best possible air quality. By treating readers like friends, he communicates even the most complex information in an easy-to-understand way to make your reading experience not only useful but also enjoyable. Check out the articles written by the hand of our founder Dmytro.

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