CO is toxic to humans because it is attracted to hemoglobin, the main component of red blood cells. Typically, hemoglobin carries oxygen throughout our bodies, releasing it to tissues as needed. When CO gas is present, it replaces the oxygen and can kill in minutes in heavy concentrations. In low concentrations, the symptoms mimic the flu or other viruses common during cold weather months. Some signs of high CO2 are headaches, dizziness, difficulty breathing, fatigue, and increased heart rate. Basically, the high CO2 deprives the body of its needed oxygen, especially the brain.
What Can You Do
- Purchase and properly install a carbon monoxide detector. We recommend any of the models available at hardware and home improvement stores. The detectors that use batteries should have new ones installed yearly. When you change the ones in your fire/smoke detectors go ahead and get the CO detector changed, too. The old batteries probably have life left in them but you do not take chances with something so important.
- Check all your flue pipes (furnaces, chimneys, water heaters, etc.) on an annual basis for any signs of blockage (bird nests, large twigs, and the like).
- When you have a fireplace or wood-burning stove, have the chimney inspected annually and cleaned as necessary.
- Have your heating system inspected annually (before the cold weather sets in) to check for the proper and safe operation of all parts especially the flue pipes and heat exchangers.
That is where Greer’s Heating and Air can help. We will provide maintenance to your furnace making sure there isn’t any carbon monoxide leaking into your home.