Plumbing and HVAC system issues are frustrating, but sometimes, they can be outright dangerous to your health. One of those is carbon monoxide poisoning. A carbon monoxide leak in your house is a sign of a malfunctioning component in the plumbing or the HVAC systems, and it can cause permanent damage to your health. Let’s look at it in more detail.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odourless, colourless, and tasteless gas, which means you cannot smell it if it leaks in your home. Unless you have carbon monoxide detectors, you will not realize you are being exposed to the gas until it’s too late. And by the time you figure out you are exposed to it, the health damage may have already begun. This is why it is vital to have functioning carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
How Does a Carbon Monoxide Leak Occur?
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of the combustion process where the fuel is not being burnt efficiently. It is most commonly found in the HVAC or plumbing systems of homes like furnaces, gas stoves and water heaters, fireplaces, wood and pellet burning stoves, space heaters, etc. Essentially, any machine in your home that relies on fuel is susceptible to a carbon monoxide leak. These appliances produce some amount of CO all the time, but if they are not located in a well-ventilated space or have some sort of failure or leak, they can produce excessive amounts of CO in the house.
What are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Carbon monoxide is especially harmful to the human body. When it enters your lungs, it gets absorbed and transferred into your bloodstream. If there’s too much of it, it can replace the oxygen in your blood, leading to various health issues. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, weakness, vomiting, confusion, dizziness, and difficulty breathing. Severe exposure can lead to unconsciousness, and if not addressed on time, it can even be fatal. There have even been instances where individuals have displayed dementia-like symptoms due to carbon monoxide poisoning.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
Luckily, it is quite simple to prevent carbon monoxide leak and poisoning in modern homes. All you have to do is follow these tips, and you can keep your family safe.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors; their importance cannot be overstated.
- Have any equipment that relies on fuel checked and serviced annually.
- Get the chimney and fireplace cleaned regularly.
- Never run your car for long in the garage, even with the doors open.
- Ensure the fuel-burning pieces of equipment are located in vented areas.
- Maintain and service the HVAC and plumbing systems regularly.
What to Do if You are Exposed to CO?
If you notice any of those symptoms in yourself or your family members, you must open all the windows and leave the house immediately. The next thing you must do is contact 911 and call your doctor. It is recommended that you visit a hospital in case of mild to severe symptoms. The emergency services will ensure the carbon monoxide leak is contained, and they will also ensure your family’s safety.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is highly risky; it sends many people to the emergency room every year in Edmonton. The best and safest way to protect your family is to have your plumbing and HVAC systems checked and services regularly, and having working detectors installed.
Capital Plumbing can help you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in your home by maintaining the plumbing and HVAC systems of your home. Contact us now.