Indoor air quality is an important aspect of any HVAC system. However maintaining indoor air quality extends far beyond removing irritants such as dust and allergens from the air. In fact it’s often the particles you can’t see, smell, or taste that are the most dangerous, if not fatal.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly 430 deaths and 20,000 emergency room visits are caused by unintentional carbon monoxide (abbreviated as CO) poisoning each year. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning range from dull headache and mild nausea to blurred vision and sudden loss of consciousness.
Commonly referred to as as a silent killer, this colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas is the byproduct of the process that produces heat in your furnace. When drawn safely away from your home, carbon monoxide poses no danger. However, if the system malfunctions and begins filling your home with carbon monoxide, the danger becomes very real.
With heating season in full swing, now is an especially important time to keep up with your HVAC maintenance. Monitoring your indoor air quality and carbon monoxide detectors are a critical aspects of HVAC maintenance than can directly affect your health and life! You can do this by using two different kinds of carbon monoxide detection devices: alarms and monitors.
While devices such as carbon monoxide detectors are excellent for alerting you when there is a sudden, high level of carbon monoxide in your home, they’re unable to detect lower levels that can still be deadly. Prolonged exposure to constant low levels of carbon monoxide can be just as dangerous as being exposed to a high level of this toxic gas for a short period. This is why low level CO monitors are important!
Low level CO monitors are different from carbon monoxide detectors in that they actively monitor the amount of carbon monoxide in the air in real time. They can let you know when there is an unsafe amount of carbon monoxide in the air before the detector can sound an alarm. Talk about breathing easy!
Carbon monoxide is measured in a ratio called parts per million (PPM). A reading of 0.5 to 5.5 ppm is within normal range for homes without gas appliances, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). On average, carbon monoxide detectors only begin to sound an alarm at 70 ppm.
While some people may not experience any significant symptoms after being exposed to this level for short periods, long term exposure (6 to 8 hours) can cause disorientation, dizziness, and weakness. Those with heart problems may experience chest pain.
Your comfort, safety, and satisfaction are our top priorities at Baggett Heating & Cooling. Our experienced HVAC technicians are happy to help keep your home’s air clean and safe. Considering installing a low level CO monitor or have questions? Don’t hesitate to call us!