The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide!

February 3rd, 2017 by Chris Leaman

JK Mechanical Technician - Chris Broyles

By: Chris Broyles – Commercial HVAC Service Manager

CO detection is a very serious issue that I have personally had a run-in with, so I thought I would share my story. Years ago I was performing planned maintenance on a medical building in Conestoga. The building had 7 or 8 gas furnaces in the attic. I started with the furnace on the one end of the attic and worked my way toward the access, which was in the middle of the building. When I completed the maintenance on the units at that side of the building, I had such a splitting headache that I thought I should go lay down for a second to see if I could get the headache to subside.

I was thirsty and it was close to lunch time, so I decided to go out to the truck instead. When I got back from lunch and started on the other side of the attic, the vent on the furnace yet to be serviced had come off and the furnace was burning away, dumping flue gasses into the attic. It then occurred to me that I had carbon monoxide poisoning. If I had decided to take a break in the attic instead of going out to my truck, I would most likely be dead.

Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is known as a silent killer.  It is a tasteless, odorless, colorless, toxic gas that when inhaled can begin to take over the oxygen in your body in minutes.

CO is commonly released when fossil fuel burns incompletely because of insufficient oxygen. Due to lack of ventilation, the CO within the fuel becomes airborne.

What can you do to avoid CO exposure?

  1. Install CO detectors in all areas of your home or business space & maintain regularly.
  2. Keep exhaust vents clear for your gas-fired appliances and furnace.
  3. Do not run engines in closed areas.
  4. Schedule regular maintenance on fuel-burning devices.

**If you are feeling symptoms such as light-headedness, headaches, and/or confusion possibly associated with CO, move outside to ventilated area right away and call 911.

 

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