CHARACTERISTICS OF CARBON MONOXIDE
Agrinatural Gas Emergency Number: (1-877-414-1930)
- Home and business owners should check frequently for visible signs of carbon monoxide (CO) build-up in your home or building, such as high indoor humidity, and soot or water collecting near a burner or vent
- Home and business owners should keep the area near the furnace clear of flammable liquids (gasoline, paint products, solvents or cleaners) and all combustible materials (newspaper, cardboard boxes or rags)
- Furnaces will run longer during very cold weather, be aware that supply ductwork and registers may be hot to touch.
- A professional service technician should replace chimney and vent connectors (the pipe between the furnace and the chimney) to see if there are rust holes or corrosion.
- Periodically inspect the “cold-end” of the flue for ice build-up that could restrict exhaust.
- Ensure that the fresh-air intake is free of debris, snow, ice, etc.
- Have your furnace checked by a professional licensed service technician once a year to be sure it is performing properly and that it has sufficient air for proper combustion and to exhaust flue products.
CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING
CARBON MONOXIDE (CO) is a poisonous gas that is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and non-irritating. When inhaled, carbon monoxide combines with the blood and prevents it from absorbing oxygen. When this oxygen-deficient blood reaches the heart and brain, it can damage those organs and cause illness or death.
Is Carbon Monoxide (CO) present in my home or building?
There are several physical symptoms of (CO) poisoning, which vary depending on the amount of (CO) in the bloodstream. [the higher the concentration, the greater the danger] Additionally, signs of carbon monoxide present in a building can include unusually high indoor humidity with persistent heavy condensation on walls and windows, stuffy or stale indoor air, and soot or water collecting near a vent or burner.
PHYSICAL SIGNS OF EXPOSURE:
Severity of the physical symptoms will vary depending on age, general health, level of physical activity, and the duration and concentration of exposure.
- MILD: Slight headache – vomiting – nausea – fatigue – blurred vision – flu-like symptoms that disappear when the person breaths fresh air
- MEDIUM: drowsiness – confusion – severe headache – rapid heart rate
- SEVERE: Convulsions – Unconsciousness – Cardiac/respiratory arrest – even death
What is the treatment for Carbon Monoxide (CO) poisoning?
- Treat with fresh air or pure oxygen
- Severe exposure requires medical attention
What do I do if I suspect Carbon Monoxide (CO) is present?
- Open the windows to ventilate the area
- Shut off your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances
- If you are experiencing physical symptoms, get everyone, including pets out of your home or building
- If you have an attached garage, open the largest garage door
- If you suspect problems with your appliances, call your gas appliance dealer directly
- If carbon monoxide is discovered, don’t return to your home or building until the source is found and the problem is corrected. Get to fresh air and call 911
If I smell Natural Gas, is that the same as Carbon Monoxide (CO)?
NO. Carbon Monoxide has no smell. When you smell Natural Gas, you smell the ODORANT that we add to the Natural Gas for safety reasons. If you smell Natural Gas, leave your home or building immediately and call Agrinatural Gas from another location.
How do I prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) buildup?
- NEVER operate an automobile, lawn mower or any combustion engine, or barbeque grill or similar equipment, in an enclosed area such as your home, garage, tent, fish house, hunting shack, trailer or place of business, even with the door open.
- NEVER leave a fire smoldering in a fireplace.
- HAVE fuel-burning equipment regularly checked by a qualified technician (most manufacturers recommend annual check-ups).
- CHECK FREQUENTLY for visible signs of problems, such as high indoor humidity, or soot or water collecting near a vent or burner.
- PROVIDE adequate combustion air for all of your appliances by avoiding too many appliances vented to one pipe.
- MAKE SURE your fresh air intake(s) is unobstructed
- BE CERTAIN all fuel-burning appliances and equipment are properly vented to the outdoors.
- KEEP vents and chimneys clear of debris or other obstructions and check for vent pipes that have gaps, leaks, spaces, or are rusted through.
- HAVE your gas central heating unit checked before the heating season begins to make sure the heat exchanger is not cracked or rusted and that the burner area is clean.
- NEVER attempt to heat a room with a Natural Gas range, oven or clothes dryer.
- IF YOU HAVE EQUIPMENT CONVERTED from one type of fuel to another, have the conversion done by a qualified technician. You can purchase a carbon dioxide (CO) detection device with an audible alarm and a digital display, installed near bedrooms, that can provide added protection. Make sure it is IAS-6-96 approved or meets the Underwriters Laboratories Standard 2034. Look for the “UL” stamp on the box and carefully follow the manufacturer’s directions for operation, placement, and maintenance.
What are the sources of Carbon Monoxide (CO)?
Usually carbon monoxide is produced while burning fuels like gasoline, coal, wood, charcoal, kerosene, natural gas, propane and heating oil, as well as almost any other combustible material such as tobacco, fibers or paper. There is an even greater risk of carbon monoxide accumulation if your home or building is tightly sealed and not properly ventilated. While smoke inhalation from fires is a common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, cigarette smoke and vehicle exhaust are the most common sources of carbon monoxide exposure.
If your home or building has an attached garage, air and any pollutants in the air may flow from the garage into the structure. So, if you leave a car or other combustion engine running inside the garage, or if an air intake duct is located next to a heavily traveled road or near a loading dock, carbon monoxide can accumulate. Any fuel-burning equipment or appliances, including wood stoves, fireplaces, space heaters, barbeque grills, furnaces, water heaters, boilers and ranges, have the potential to produce carbon monoxide. When Natural Gas equipment is properly operated and maintained, it usually will not produce carbon monoxide.
Why does Carbon Monoxide accumulate and not escape through the chimney?
Carbon monoxide usually forms when fuel-burning appliances and equipment are malfunctioning or improperly maintained. Normally, when adequate combustion air is available and the appliance is properly installed and maintained, all gases and other combustion byproducts will be harmlessly vented to the outdoors. Homes and other buildings that are tightly sealed or have large exhaust systems, such as kitchen exhaust fans, need a system that provides air to replace the air that is pulled out by the exhaust. Without adequate make-up air, air from the outside can be pulled down a chimney and cause carbon monoxide to form.