Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Fire and smoke detection in our homes is, of course, a common safety concern. But there is another silent killer that can lurk in our homes that most people are unaware of: Carbon Monoxide – or CO.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a poisonous, colourless, odourless, and tasteless gas. Although it has no detectable odour, CO is often mixed with other gases that do have an odour. So you can inhale carbon monoxide right along with gases that you can smell and not even know that CO is present. CO is a common industrial hazard resulting from the incomplete burning of natural gas and any other material containing carbon such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. Forges, blast furnaces and coke ovens produce CO, but one of the most common sources of exposure in the workplace is the internal combustion engine.

How does CO harm you? carbon monoxide john's refair

Carbon monoxide is harmful when breathed in because it displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overcome you in minutes without warning—causing you to lose consciousness and suffocate. Besides tightness across the chest, initial symptoms of CO poisoning may include headache, fatigue, dizziness, drowsiness, red eyes or nausea. Sudden chest pain may occur in people with angina. During prolonged or high exposures, symptoms may worsen and include vomiting, confusion, and collapse in addition to loss of consciousness and muscle weakness.

CO poisoning may occur sooner in those most susceptible, especial young children, elderly people, people with lung or heart disease, people at high altitudes, or those who already have elevated CO blood levels, such as smokers. It also poses a special risk to fetuses. CO poisoning can be reversed if caught in time. But even if you recover, acute poisoning may result in permanent damage to the parts of your body that require a lot of oxygen such as the heart and brain.

Fortunately, you can get John’s Refair to service your ducted heater or gas heating system. We also do CO testing in our standard service procedure, to ensure the safety of your family.