Why Is Carbon Monoxide Bad In The House?

Throughout New Jersey, From Union to Ewing all the way to Glassboro and Washington Township, we have all heard that carbon monoxide is bad. But very rarely is it explained further than that. Thats what we are here to do, explain carbon monoxide, what it is, where it comes from, and how to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from occuring in your New Jersey home.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon Monoxide is a poisonous gas that cannot be seen, smelled, or tasted. 

Carbon Monoxide has a wide range of adverse effects on the body dependent on the amount taken in and the person exposed. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air, your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death. Exposure to high levels of CO kills around 500 people in the United States every year. Low-level CO exposure symptoms can be similar to allergies and the common cold. These may include headaches, fatigue, brain fog, and shortness of breath. CO poisoning affects children and people with pre-existing medical conditions the most. 

Where does carbon monoxide come from?

Carbon Monoxide is a by-product of the combustion process. Examples include:

  • Fuel-burning equipment such as gas fireplaces, cooking ovens, and generators.

Tip: If you do have a gas fireplace make sure it is vented properly to the outside and never use a generator indoors or in an enclosed space. 

  • Car exhaust fumes entering the house from the garage.
  • Attached garages should always be sealed off from conditioned living space to prevent CO from traveling into the home. 
  •  HVAC equipment that’s not vented properly. 

Did you know that metal flue pipes are prone to back drafting and letting CO back inside the home? Metal flue pipes have been banned for any new construction in New Jersey since 2009. 

Get a Home Energy Assessment to ensure your HVAC system is safe, and vented properly

How to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning

Keep your family safe from CO with these tips:

  • Never run your car in a closed garage.
  • Make sure fuel-burning appliances are installed by a professional.  
  • Never use a gas range or oven to heat your home.
  • Have your heating system and chimney inspected each year by a professional. 
  • Replace your filters in heating and cooling systems.
  • Never run a generator, power washer, or any diesel or gasoline-powered engine inside a basement, garage, or other enclosed structure.
  • Keep your home well ventilated.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms
  • Talk to your doctor or local health department if you suspect that you, or a family member, might be suffering from carbon monoxide fumes.
  • Call your local building or code enforcement agency if you have concerns about the combustion appliances in your home.

Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors

  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions to ensure proper installation.
  • Place near sleeping areas.
  • Put one on every level of your home. 
  • Do not install directly above or beside fuel-burning appliances.
  • Do not install CO detectors near the bathroom or any other areas that produce moisture.
  • Test the alarm every six months and replace the batteries in the unit as needed. The average life of a CO detector is seven years. 

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