Carbon Monoxide Detection
Carbon Monoxide Detection & Improper Combustion Appraisal Service
Here at Air Concept Solutions, LLC, we are a Company with trained professionals to properly inspect and test for the dangers of Carbon Monoxide & Improper Combustion with your home heating furnaces, fireplaces, gas water heaters and gas appliances. “Your safety is our #1 goal.”
- • CAZ certified
- • BPI Certified (Building Performance Institute)
Combustion requires air, a heat source and ignition. If any one of these components are lacking or incorrectly combined, combustion will fail or falter, resulting in poor performance and a potentially hazardous situation. A deadly buildup of carbon monoxide can occur when a heat source such as gas does not burn fully due to insufficient air flow. Therefore it is vitally important to recognize the signs of poor gas burner combustion, particularly in home heating and cooking appliances.
- The flame on your gas stove or hot water heater or gas furnace should be a steady bright blue. Impurities in the gas or dust particles in the air may cause orange flickers in the flame, but a flame that is mostly yellow or orange is an indication of a problem. It might simply mean that there is a dirt or grease buildup or a food obstruction on a stove. If cleaning the appliance does not fix the problem, consult a service technician.
Delayed or Faulty Ignition
- Properly working gas appliances should ignite on demand or a stove as soon as the knob or key is turned. If the ignition clicks on a gas stove but the burner does not immediately light and the whooshing sound of gas ignition is absent, this might indicate the presence of an obstruction.
- A sooty or yellowed stain on the ceiling of a room most likely around a fireplace, stove or an attached garage is another sign of incomplete combustion. Soot is composed of tiny carbon particles of minimum size that have not burned. These tiny particles can form as a result of a dirty or obstructed chimney, obstructed air vents or a buildup of dirt or debris in the mechanism of a gas-fueled appliance.
- Intermittent operational problems with gas appliances may be a result of improper gas combustion. Gas appliances contain mechanical parts that regulate the amount of gas flow. If the mechanism is broken, incorrectly sized or faulty, it can cause either too much or too little gas input. In addition to operational problems, delayed repairs can lead to damaged mechanical components.
Carbon Monoxide Exposure
Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), it can kill a person within minutes. How does such a lethal gas make its way into our homes? The answer is simple: when any type of fuel, whether gas, kerosene or even wood is combusted, carbon monoxide is released into the air. This can be dangerous inside a home or building containing any of a variety of appliances, especially in structures with poor ventilation.
According to the EPA, prevention is key in avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning. A carbon monoxide detector, while useful, may not function properly, so it is important to make sure appliances such as stoves, gas heaters and even wood stoves have properly installed ventilation systems.
However, sometimes we do breathe carbon monoxide, and it causes identifiable physical effects and symptoms in the body. Examining these will help us recognize how to identify exposure to this deadly gas and to know when to call in an emergency.
Carbon Monoxide's Physiological Effects
The U.S. Department of Labor's Occupational Safety & Health Association (OSHA) classifies carbon monoxide as an asphyxiant, which means that it displaces oxygen and causes symptoms including death from asphyxiation, or lack of oxygen to the bloodstream and therefore to the brain.
When carbon monoxide gas is inhaled, it prevents a person's blood from carrying enough life-maintaining oxygen to the body and brain---which is why it is so lethal at high levels. Even at lower levels, carbon monoxide is dangerous, especially for people with pre-existing medical conditions such as heart disease, asthma and bronchitis, among others
According to OSHA, the maximum permissible exposure limit for people is 50ppm (parts per million) of regular air, and it is recommended that the ambient level never exceed 35ppm to be on the safe side. As one can quite easily see, it doesn't take much carbon monoxide to produce a hazardous home or work environment---only .0005 percent of the air we breathe can contain carbon monoxide and be considered a permissible upper limit.
Did you know that most CO Home detectors may not alert you in time? Most CO Home detectors have a higher rating PPM and may not alert you of the dangers until they sense up to 70ppm (parts per million).
It is always good to have your home tested once a year or when you notice some of the danger signs listed below. (Please read below for danger signs)
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.
It is common knowledge that high levels of carbon monoxide can be lethal in a matter of minutes, and the symptoms occur quickly: unconsciousness followed by death. The EPA lists the manifest symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure upon the body by two other levels: low and moderate.
Low levels of carbon monoxide produce symptoms such as mild headaches, nausea and shortness of breath. Long-term exposure to mild levels of carbon monoxide can cause complications over time.
Moderate exposure to carbon monoxide exhibits a wide variety of identifiable symptoms in the person affected. At this level of exposure, the headaches can become severe, dizziness and mental confusion may occur as well. A person exposed to moderate levels of carbon monoxide may even faint.
The EPA points out that many of these symptoms might be confused with other ailments, such as the flu or the common cold or even food poisoning. With this in mind, it is of importance to be aware of your home or work environment and recognize the warning signs of carbon monoxide poisoning. Should you suspect you, or someone near you is experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, the EPA says immediate fresh air and emergency medical treatment are essential.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is responsible for almost 25% of all propane related fatalities. Carbon Monoxide is the product of incomplete gas combustion often because appliances are improperly adjusted. Properly functioning propane appliances will produce what is called an "ideal burn" during combustion and present no danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Carbon Monoxide poisoning can lead to severe injury and even death.
Three ingredients required for combustion to take place include fuel, ignition and air. Without any one of these three ingredients, combustion will not occur and even still, the ratio of air to gas must be within an acceptable range for combustion to occur. For instance, a mixture made up of equal parts propane and air will not combust when ignition is introduced. With propane, combustion will occur when the gas in air mixture is between 2.2 and 9.6 and is referred to as the "limits of flammability". In other words, 2.2 parts propane and 97.8 parts air is a combustible mixture as is 9.6 parts propane and 90.4 parts air. Combustion will occur anywhere between these two (gas to air) ratios with the "ideal burn" being about 4 parts propane and 96 parts air. This ideal ratio is considered to be the most efficient burn of propane gas when used. Complete combustion of propane is evident by a blue burning flame.
Incomplete Propane Combustion - Carbon Monoxide
Carbon Monoxide is produced during the incomplete combustion of propane. Incomplete combustion is defined as within the limits of flammability but higher or lower than the ideal ratio of 4 parts propane 96 parts air. Incomplete propane combustion can occur in one of two ways:
Lean Burn - The ratio of propane to air is less than 4 parts propane. 2.5 parts propane to 97.5 parts air would produce a lean burn. A lean burn can be recognized when flames appear to lift away from the burner and can potentially go out.
Rich Burn - A ratio of propane to air is more than 4 parts propane. 8.5 parts propane to 91.5 parts air would produce a rich burn. Recognizing a rich burn is very simple as the flames are much larger than they are supposed to be and are largely yellow in color.
Several products of incomplete combustion that are easily visible and if noticed, action should be taken immediately. Visible signs of incomplete combustion include burner flame appearance (as listed above), soot collecting on appliance windows such as that of a space heater and excessive water vapors forming on windows and cool surfaces during appliance operation. Appliance service and adjustment is needed if any of these visible signs of incomplete combustion are noticed.
Dangerous Levels of Carbon Monoxide - The Signs
Carbon Monoxide is a deadly toxic gas undetectable by smell that can harm or kill animals, plants and people. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is not limited to propane gas. It is a product of the incomplete combustion of natural gas as well. The best defense against Carbon Monoxide poisoning is to have working CO detectors installed throughout the living space of a home minimum of one Carbon Monoxide detectors per level of the home and recommended in or near the bedrooms or living room areas. Carbon Monoxide detectors are available at many stores as well as on the internet. If any of the following signs are noticed, take action immediately as a high level of Carbon Monoxide is likely present.
Aldehydes - This toxic gas is detectable by smell and gives the sensation of a metallic taste in ones mouth after exposure and indicates Carbon Monoxide is most likely present.
Health Symptoms - Carbon Monoxide poisoning causes headaches, dizziness, and nausea, shortness of breath, light-headedness and constant nose bleeds.
Fresh air is needed immediately followed by medical attention.
Dead Plants - Dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide are likely if the plants in your home have all of a sudden died or are withering.
Instructions: How to Treat Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Things you’ll need to remember:
• A cell phone close at hand or neighbor's phone (to call 911)
• A flat stretch of ground (if you need to administer CPR)
• Always seek a professional doctor, hospital or client for proper treatment. (no matter how small of exposure)
• Remember Your Health of you and your family should always come first.
1. If you suspect that you or others are experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, immediately remove all people and animals from the source of carbon monoxide as quickly and safely as you can. If you are in a house or other building and suspect carbon monoxide, immediately get outside and breathe fresh air.
2. Call 911 and request assistance. Cases of moderate to severe carbon monoxide poisoning can only be treated by trained technicians and even mild cases should be examined by a doctor.
3. Check a poison victim to make sure he or she is breathing. If so, ensure that they are able to breathe fresh air easily. If he is not breathing, administer CPR until help arrives. To administer CPR, lay the victim flat on the ground on his back, then pinch the victim's nose firmly and cover his mouth with yours. Blow until you see the victim's chest expand, about one second. Give two breaths then check to see if the victim is breathing. If he is still not breathing, press down firmly on the chest (right in between the nipples) 30 times at a rate of 100 pumps per minute. Begin again with the two breaths, continuing the cycle until help arrives.
4. When the paramedics arrive, they will most likely administer 100% oxygen to those affected by carbon monoxide inhalation. Using a tight-fitting oxygen mask, patients will breathe in oxygen in order to hasten the carbon monoxide's release from the body.
5. In most moderate to severe cases of poisoning, the affected person will be transported to a hospital for further treatment. Even if a person seems to be recovering quickly from the effects of inhalation, she or he may still need medical attention.
You and your family’s lives are important; don’t be fooled by the invisible danger.
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