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  • Writer's pictureB&L Heating and Air

Carbon Basics

Carbon Monoxide: Facts and Information

What is Carbon Monoxide and where does it come from?

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, toxic gas. Household appliances could cause carbon monoxide in your home. These items can include gas stoves, gas fires, boilers, and central heating systems. When fuel does not fully burn, Carbon Monoxide is admitted into your home causing serious health issues that can include, but are not limited to; dull headaches, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath, blurred vision, confusion, nausea, vomiting, and loss of consciousness.

Here are just a few Home Safety Tips

1. Purchase a Carbon Monoxide Detector to put in your home.

2. If you are buying a fuel-burning appliance, choose one that can be vented

outdoors if possible.

3. Have the heating system, vents, chimney, and flue inspected and cleaned by a

qualified technician each year.

4. Open a window when a fireplace or wood-burning stove is in use, and provide

adequate outdoor air for furnace and water heater.

5. Examine vents and chimneys regularly for improper connections, visible rust,

or stains.

6. Make sure appliances are installed according to manufacturer’s instructions

and local building codes. Most appliances should be installed by professionals

and should be inspected by the proper authority after installation.

A few things you shouldn’t do:

1. Never burn charcoal inside your home.

2. Never install, service, or convert fuel-burning appliances from one type to another without proper knowledge, skills, and tools.

3. Never use a gas range, oven, or clothes dryer for heating.

4. Never operate unvented gas-burning appliances in a closed room.

5. Never operate gasoline-powered engines in confined areas, even if a window

or door is open.

6. Never ignore a safety device when it shuts off an appliance.

7. Never ignore a CO alarm.

8. It is recommended not to install a CO alarm in garages, kitchens, or furnace


How to Place a Carbon Monoxide Detector in your home.

Placing a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home isn’t quite as easy as taking it out of the box and setting it on the counter, but it’s not difficult and can save lives. Your alarm should be mounted in or near bedrooms and living areas. If you have a multi-level home, be sure to put a detector on each level. You can use the number and location of smoke alarms installed in your home as a guide to the location of your CO alarms. Although the alarm will indicate a presence of carbon monoxide at the sensor, the gas may be present in other areas of your home.

Here is a chart of approximate inhalation time and symptoms developed:

Believe it or not, there are warning signs and clues of Carbon Monoxide in your home:

· Streaks of carbon or soot around the service door of your fuel-burning


· A yellow or orange flame may indicate an issue.

· Excessive rusting on flue pipes or appliance jackets.

· Moisture collecting on the windows and walls of furnace rooms.

· Loose or disconnected vent/chimney, fireplace, or appliance.

· Small amounts of water leaking from the base of the chimney, vent, or flue


· Rust on the portion of the vent pipe visible from outside your home.

· The absence of a draft in your chimney.

· Fallen soot from the fireplace chimney.

· Loose, damaged or discolored bricks on your chimney.

Carbon monoxide detectors act as a monitor for the CO gas, not as a smoke alarm or other type of device. No device is fool-proof so having more than one CO detector in your home is beneficial. The detectors should be tested weekly and replaced if you don’t believe it is working properly. You can purchase detectors that can perform internal self-diagnoses to determine functionality from your local hardware store or heat and air company.

Stay safe this winter by making sure you have a correctly installed

Carbon Monoxide detector!

*The facts and information for this blog came from the

Bryant Carbon Monoxide Alarm manual.

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