Safety Monitors

Long-term carbon monoxide exposure is unhealthy

Protect your loved ones by making sure they are not breathing any poisonous carbon monoxide in your home or office. Off-the-shelf carbon monoxide detectors don’t alarm until it is way too late to stop the ill-effects associated with long-term, low level exposure.

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How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work

Known as “the silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that comes from the incomplete burning of fuel. Just about anything you might burn in or around your home – whether it’s gasoline, wood, coal, propane, natural gas or oil – can produce carbon monoxide in the right conditions. Without enough ventilation, the gas can build up to deadly levels. And it doesn’t take much fuel to be dangerous: even small tools like chainsaws can release enough CO to make you sick.

Carbon monoxide enters red blood cells, quickly taking the place of the oxygen your body needs. Your blood then carries the CO to your organs. If you inhale small amounts of CO over a long period, the exposure might not be fatal, but it can cause permanent damage to the brain, lungs and heart. Moderate levels of CO exposure can cause burning eyes, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, severe headaches, breathing difficulties and confusion. These symptoms are easily mistaken for other common illnesses, like food poisoning or the flu. If carbon monoxide begins to fill a home while people are sleeping, the exposure can be fatal before anyone realizes something is wrong. Infants, the elderly and people with respiratory and circulatory illnesses are at an increased risk of fatal CO poisoning.

You can reduce your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning by keeping your fuel-burning appliances well maintained and using combustible fuels only in well ventilated areas. Another important step is installing a low-level carbon monoxide monitor in your home.

There’s a big difference between a “standard” carbon monoxide detector (available at most home improvement stores) and a low-level carbon monoxide monitor (only available through professionally trained contractors). There are many similarities since they both have CO sensors that identify and measure CO gas concentration in the atmosphere in parts per million (ppm).

In the United States, “standard” carbon monoxide detectors are calibrated to alarm at CO concentrations of about 70 parts per million (ppm) in as little as an hour but will respond to concentrations of 400 ppm in as little as four minutes [source: UL 2034]. The alarm sounds at about 85 decibels (dB), just a little quieter than a typical lawnmower, but often very shrill.

Unfortunately, “standard” carbon monoxide detectors don’t alert you to long term CO exposure at lower levels which can lead to serious health issues.

Professional grade low-level carbon monoxide monitors (like the NSI 3000) begin displaying readings at 5ppm and alarming at 15ppm (low-level), 35ppm (high-level) and 70ppm (crisis level). If you want to be notified if ANY poisonous gas is in your living space, a low-level carbon monoxide monitor is the way to go.

Air Force 1 Heating & Air provides high quality, affordable hvac service, repair and air quality testing ensuring your home stays comfortable and safe throughout the year. Call us today at (951) 244-0916.