According to a Small Business Trend statistics, an average of 439 deaths occur every year from accidental, non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning. What makes the gas so lethal? How can an efficient air conditioning system help prevent Carbon monoxide poisoning?
What is Carbon monoxide Poisoning?
When fuel or materials made up of carbon are burned, they give off carbon monoxide gas-especially when they are not fully burned. These include charcoal, coal, wood, oil or gas.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a result of too much accumulation of carbon monoxide gas in the bloodstream. In the presence of too much carbon monoxide in the air, the red blood cells easily take up the lethal gas and transport it to the body tissues. This brings about severe organ damage or even death. What makes victims more vulnerable is that carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas-not easy to detect-yet very lethal. Unborn babies, infants, the elderly, and chronic heart disease patients are at greater risk.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Ensure vents and chimneys are not clogged. You will obviously use fuel for heating or cooking. If that is the case, fit in vents and chimneys to take out the smoke and carbon monoxide safely from the house. Do checks and repairs to ensure these airways are not blocked by soot or debris.
- Install carbon monoxide detectors. Have them installed in strategic areas where chances of carbon monoxide emissions are higher. Such as the kitchen, and garage. Sections near each bedroom, or hallway, are also an important location to install a detector. Have these installations checked as regularly as your smoke detectors.
- Use heating appliances and engines in properly ventilated areas. Heating systems were ranked second as the cause of fatalities from carbon monoxide poisoning. Cook with fuels while leaving the kitchen window open. Run the car engine or generator with the garage door open if possible. Confine generator use to the outdoors, about 6 meters (20 feet) from a window or door of a house. Do not leave your engine running in your garage, especially if it is attached to your house. Aerate a room properly after cooking with carbon-based fuels before retiring to bed.
- Get servicing from a qualified technician. Getting the best services from a Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning (HVAC) service provider greatly lowers the risk of poisoning. The technician will check the heating system, water heater, carbon monoxide detectors and other burning appliances for faults and defects.
- Use approved fuel-burning appliances. Such appliances rarely emit dangerous gases nor cause accidents. Some authorities also inspect and approve HVAC installations.
In case you take all the precautions but you are still affected by carbon monoxide, quickly move to an area with fresh air. Then seek medical attention in case of prolonged exposure or adverse effects.
Each year, 20,000 Americans report to hospital as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning. These staggering figures show just how deadly carbon monoxide gas really is. You can help reduce the figures by taking more precaution as advised in this article. One way to do this is by ensuring your air conditioning system is in tip-top condition.