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Top Signs of Carbon Monoxide Leak in Your Home and How It Affects Your Body

This odorless, colorless gas can be very harmful.

Carbon monoxide leak gas mask

Do you ever think about what's in the air you breathe? Molecules in the air include primarily nitrogen and oxygen, as well as water, carbon dioxide, ozone, and many other compounds in trace amounts. Some of these are created naturally, while others are the results of human activity. But sometimes the air can also contain harmful compounds—like CO or Carbon Monoxide.

In layman's terms, carbon monoxide or CO is an odorless, colorless gas that's emitted from incomplete combustion processes. We normally encounter carbon monoxide in ways that we might not be aware of, like in homes with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages.

These are some of the things that we use on a daily basis that might contribute to the emission of carbon monoxide:

  • Clothes dryers
  • Water heaters
  • Furnaces or boilers
  • Fireplaces, both gas and wood-burning
  • Gas stoves and ovens
  • Motor vehicles
  • Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
  • Wood stoves
  • Tobacco smoke

While carbon monoxide can be toxic, being exposed to small amounts is something that is inevitable, whether outdoors, in your workplace, or even in your own household. However, inhaling too much of it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide can be more hazardous when combustion fumes are trapped in a poorly ventilated or enclosed space. Inhaling these fumes can cause CO to build up in your bloodstream, which can lead to serious complications such as severe tissue damage.

Carbon Monoxide Leak: What Are the Signs?

Carbon monoxide pipes
Snag Eun Park/Pixabay

It pays to know the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and be able to determine if there is a leak within your household or workplace. These are some of the signs that you should look out for:

  1. The presence of black, sooty marks on the front covers of gas fires
  2. Suspicious soot or yellow/brown stains on or around boilers, stoves or fires
  3. There is smoke building up in rooms because of a faulty flue
  4. The occurrence of yellow flames coming from gas appliances instead of blue
  5. Frequent cases of pilot lights blowing out

And in case you do suspect carbon monoxide poisoning in your household or workplace either through observing or with the help of certain devices, here are some indications in people that could suggest CO poisoning in your home:

  1. People in your household or workplace fall ill with similar symptoms.
  2. Your symptoms disappear when you go away, like when you leave town for a holiday, and they reoccur once you return.
  3. Your symptoms tend to be seasonal. For example, if you get headaches more often during the winter when the central heating is used more frequently.
  4. Apart from you or other people in the household, your pets also become ill.

What Are the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

<a href="https://depositphotos.com/category/textures-backgrounds.html">Sick young woman sitting in bed

Identifying CO poisoning can be quite difficult because the symptoms are quite similar to the common flu. This is why CO is often called the "silent killer" — people tend to ignore its early signs, thinking it's just the flu. Eventually, some may even lose consciousness, and by the time they find out it's carbon monoxide poisoning, it's already too late.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, symptoms depend on the level of CO and how long an individual has been exposed. The most common symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • dull headache
  • weakness
  • nausea/vomiting
  • confusion
  • dizziness
  • difficulty breathing

When Does Carbon Monoxide Leak Occur?

when does carbon monoxide leak occur
Marcin Jozwiak/Pexels

Although CO poisoning cases are higher during the winter months, there are situations where people can be exposed to high levels of CO during the summer. Vehicles, including boats, produce carbon monoxide. Devices such as camp stoves, barbecue grills, and non-electric heaters that are commonly used during recreational activities can also be possible sources of CO.

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Is Preventable

Carbon monoxide alarm installation

Unintentional CO poisoning is almost entirely preventable with proper installation, ventilation, and maintenance of fuel-burning appliances and heating devices. When buying gas equipment, make sure that you get those that carry the seal of a national testing agency. You might also want to reconsider the use of generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices inside your homes, basements, garages, or near windows or inside fish houses as those are also possible causes of CO poisoning.

Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should go up slightly as they go outdoors. This prevents CO from leaking if the joints or pipes aren't fitted tightly.

Avoid falling asleep or sitting for a long time in an idling car that's in an enclosed space. Ensure that appliances or recreational vehicles that burn gas, wood, propane, or other fuel are situated in well-ventilated spaces. Do not sleep near a gas or kerosene space heater.

In order to have some peace of mind and ensure your safety, make sure to have CO alarms installed at home or in your workplace to alert you should there be an occurrence of a carbon monoxide leak. It's a good investment for your family's health and safety.

When it comes to your home's protection, make sure you get a brand that's durable and tested for its quality. X-Sense Carbon Monoxide Alarms is one of the market-leading home safety brands that's equipped with Figaro electrochemical sensors, providing a variety of carbon monoxide detectors depending on your need.

X-sense aims to maximize the reliability, usability, and functionality of its products while utilizing the most advanced technology available. From LCD or digital display to 10-year sealed detectors and sensor detectors with replaceable batteries, X-Sense has got you covered.

X-Sense's quality products can quickly and accurately detect CO concentration while displaying real-time CO levels and battery life. These are also easy to install, whether on your walls or ceilings, without the need for any hardwiring. Now's definitely the time to secure your homes with this worthy investment that ensures a safe living environment for you and your loved ones.

Preparedness is everyone's responsibility. With proper education and staying alert at all times, you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning, ensuring the health and security of everyone in your home.

Find out more about how carbon monoxide alarms work and how they can help you keep a safer household here.

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