How Do You Know If You Have A Carbon Monoxide Leak?
Carbon monoxide is a gas you can’t see or smell. It’s produced by incomplete processing of the fuel supply in many different appliances throughout a home. It can also be created through charcoal, or non-electric machinery such as lawnmowers.
When appliances run properly, small amounts of carbon monoxide released by gas appliances are vented to the outside so they won’t build up indoors. But when air circulation isn’t working right, heating systems are no longer properly venting outside, or there is a carbon monoxide leak somewhere in the system, there can be a buildup of carbon monoxide in the air.
When carbon monoxide appears at high levels, it replaces oxygen in the blood supply, resulting in carbon monoxide poisoning. This is a dangerous situation as it can happen quickly, and is often referred to as the silent killer. Multiple times each year, you hear stories of people going to sleep and never waking up because it’s hard to detect until it’s too late.
- Look for sooty or brown-yellow stains to appear around a leaking gas appliance.
- While carbon monoxide doesn’t smell, it is often associated with stale, stuffy air. If it has undertones of something burning and you can’t discover the source, focus on the gas appliances.
- Keep a close eye on fireplaces and chimneys, looking for soot, wispy smoke trails, fumes, or back-draft situations.
- A pilot light that keeps burning out.
- A pilot light that has a yellow flame instead of a clear blue flame.
Carbon monoxide leaks can impact quickly. The faster you notice the symptoms, the better your chance of avoiding many of the pitfalls.
Your first line of defense is by making sure all gas appliances are properly maintained and inspected each year. Be sure to include chimneys and vents too.
Install carbon monoxide alarms on every level of the home and check them regularly.
Avoid using grills, barbeques, or other charcoal burning items near your home. Ensure they have proper ventilation at all times.
It’s better to be safe. If you suspect a carbon monoxide leak or have any questions about a gas appliance, seek help sooner rather than later. Your health depends on it.