What Are the Signs of Carbon Monoxide in a Home?


Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas. It is odourless, colourless and can be fatal. So what are the signs of carbon monoxide in a home? There can be many signs to look out for. You may not even be aware of it leaking, which can cause sickness and even death. There have been some famous people who have died from this gas, both intentionally and unintentionally.

For example, Sylvia Plath, the American poet and novelist, died from carbon monoxide poisoning. Dan White was a former police officer, fireman and politician. He assassinated the Mayor of San Francisco and a Supervisor named Harvey Milk. He took his own life by breathing carbon monoxide. Vitas Gerulaitis was a professional tennis player and former Australian Open champion who was once ranked as high as the 3rd best tennis player. He died from accidentally breathing carbon monoxide.

As you can see, carbon monoxide in a home is incredibly dangerous. Here are some signs of carbon monoxide to watch out for:

Sign #1: Check for carbon monoxide in obvious places.

To give it its scientific abbreviation, carbon monoxide, or CO, can be found in many places. These include gas ranges, fireplaces, burning fuel from cars, furnaces, etc. This gas can build up indoors and cause people and animals to be poisoned. It is important to have some kind of ventilation to prevent getting poisoned. Sometimes an accident like an underground cable catching fire can cause CO to seep into the home.

Sign #2: Use a detector to identify carbon monoxide.

Before going further, make sure that your home has a smoke detector. Ensure that it is a good one and that the batteries work perfectly. Available in retailers like Aartech Canada, this device can alert you to a leak somewhere and prevent you from getting sick or even dying. They can warn you of an unusual build-up of CO in your home. High levels can be extremely dangerous.

If you get a CO detector, make sure that it is certified and know how it works. When it comes to CO detectors, it is worth it to get a good one, rather than trying to be cheap. This could be one of the most important investments for your home.

Also, make sure that when you have certain appliances in your home installed, ensure that certified and reputable technicians do it. Never go the cheap route. Don’t tear off a number you see on a lamp post ad. Top professionals must install certain equipment to minimize risks to yourself, your family and even your pets.

Sign #3: Watch out for heavy condensation

There can be several signs to look out for when CO is in the home. If you are unsure, get the professionals in. Heavy condensation at the windowpane where the appliance is installed is one sign. If you have a stove or boiler and notice brown or yellow stains around these appliances, you should call someone. If you notice yellow flames from a gas appliance, this could signify CO build-up. If you have an appliance where the pilot light blows out constantly, you should be concerned. Also, notice your pets if they appear to be ill.

Falling soot in a fireplace is another giveaway sign of CO build-up. If you notice your air seems a bit smelly or stuffy, or if you sense that the smell is that of something burning, it is best to call in the experts. A lack of an upward draft in your chimney flue is another sign.

If you have solid fuel fires and notice that they are burning slower than usual, this could be another sign. Smelling of other gases may also be a sign. While CO is odourless, there may be other exhaust gases that you can smell.

Sign #4: Watch out for carbon monoxide symptoms

People may exhibit certain symptoms. These symptoms could be a warning that there may be CO build-up in your home. For example, if you start having chest pains or feel breathless, this can be concerning. If you suddenly become unconscious, get frequent headaches and feel nauseous, these are vital symptoms not to be ignored. Some people may also appear to show confusion.

If you get out of your house and the symptoms disappear, CO is likely the culprit. Some people may get seasonal headaches only when central heating is frequently used. This could be a warning sign as well.

Sign #5: Get professionals to inspect for carbon monoxide.

Apart from installing a CO detector, have your installations done by professionals regularly checked or serviced. Keep away from portable flameless chemical heaters. Gas appliances should be vented properly. Do not burn charcoal indoors. If you use a generator, make sure it is battery-powered. To know the signs of carbon monoxide in a home, speak to the professionals when having any installations done and ensure they are maintained properly.