Carbon monoxide (CO) is called the silent killer or the silent threat because it is colourless and odorless; you can’t see it or smell it. CO is a by-product of combustion of carbon-based fuels such as natural gas, propane (LPG), coal, coke, furnace oil, kerosene, and wood. Carbon monoxide is absorbed by breathing and is 245 times more absorbent to the body than oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning can be misdiagnosed as flu since they are very similar.
Symptoms of Carbon monoxide poisoning
- Persistent, severe headaches
- Dizziness and blurred vision
- Nausea and vomiting
- Confusion, weakness of muscles
- Insomnia and constantly tired
- Chest pain
- Cherry coloured skin
The appliances that can generate CO within your house are the furnace, boiler, water heater, un-vented fuel burning heaters, and solid fuel burning appliances. The three main problems are improper installation, chimney or vent blocked by bricks or bird’s nests, etc. and inadequate ventilation, providing insufficient air to fuel the combustion process properly.
Improper installation can be quickly identified by referring to the manufacturer’s installation instructions and having your heating system checked yearly by a qualified professional. A professional should check the flue system at the beginning and end of each burning season and cleaned accordingly. A flue that is in poor condition will be easily spotted and the appropriate action taken before a disaster.
Supplying adequate combustion air is very simple. A window opened in the room of the operating appliance is a quick, cheap method but not too practical unless you are there to open and close it as need, and it will allow cold air in. A better solution for your house is a correctly sized Plusaire. It will supply not only adequate combustion air but also ventilation air to compensate for any of the exhaust fans that tend to depressurize your house.