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Indoor Air Quality and Environmental Experts

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Carbon Monoxide AlarmIn our last blog, we pointed out that carbon monoxide is not alone in being a “silent killer”. Radon is another colourless, odourless and tasteless gas that has been known to have very negative effects on our health when trapped in confined spaces. As a result, it’s important to significantly limit the amount that seeps into our homes. Of course, this isn’t to say that we shouldn’t all be mindful of carbon monoxide at all times.

With summer about to make its official exit and the weather about to dramatically cool down, Canadians are bound to find ways to keep warm indoors. And that often entails making more use of the furnace and even firing up the old fireplace. Both of these heat-inviting practices are also causes for carbon monoxide to escape into the environment. And when that environment is your home, you’re not doing your health any favours.

How exactly is carbon monoxide produced? According to Canada Safety Council, the “silent killer” comes from the incomplete burning of fuels. “It can be released by gas furnaces, hot water heaters, cars, fireplaces, wood stoves and kerosene heaters,” informs their website, “Faulty burners or clogged chimneys are often part of the problem.” With autumn nearly here and winter to follow, it will be important to take measures not to invite CO into your homes.

How can carbon monoxide gas be limited or avoided altogether? “To avoid the production of CO, you should have your chimney, furnace and gas-fired appliances checked by professional technicians every year,” recommends Canada Safety Council. Of course, it’s also wise to have carbon monoxide detectors in the home. According to CBC News, the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs insists upon it.

Chris Harrow is the organization’s vice-president. “We’re a strong advocate of that,” he is quoted as saying, “These devices do and can save your life. It’s a small investment to have that protection for your family in the house.” CBC News also points out that people should ensure that their homes have good ventilation. When the winter comes, it’ll be a good idea to check to make sure that snow and leaves aren’t blocking any vents.

But what is it about carbon monoxide that makes it so dangerous? Health Canada’s website puts it best: “When you breathe in carbon monoxide it binds with a protein in your blood called haemoglobin and reduces the ability of the blood to carry oxygen throughout the body. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poising get worse as CO levels and exposure time increase.” They go on to report that headaches, fatigue and shortness of breath are just a few of the symptoms.

CO is also very dangerous because it can’t be detected. Remember that it can’t be seen, smelled or tasted. The more people unknowingly breathe it in, the greater its ability to absorb oxygen. And this can cause any or all of the above mentioned symptoms. Not to mention, its worst side effect is death. CBC News reports that there were 380 accidental deaths in Canada due to carbon monoxide between 2000 and 2009. The numbers are based on Statistics Canada findings.

At DF Technical & Consulting Services Ltd., we take the issue of carbon monoxide poisoning very seriously. Our Air Quality Services provide our clients with meticulous inspections of their homes in order to seek out and eliminate any air quality problems that could lead to severe health issues. For more information, please don’t hesitate to call us at 1-855-668-3131 or email info@dftechnical.ca.

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