Carbon Monoxide Causes and Sources

sb10066306af-001In the industrial world we live in, there are plentiful carbon monoxide causes and sources. Unfortunately, if we were to try to eradicate carbon monoxide (CO) from our world, we’d have to give up on a whole lot of things including even wood fires in our chimneys. So the trick to avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning is not to try to get rid of CO but to be smarter with how we manage it. There are specific mechanisms or items that cause CO or that produce this dangerous gas, and there are ways in which you can use those devices smartly so as to minimize the risks of poisoning. The first step, as always, is knowing what the causes of CO are so that you can be more aware.

Main Cause of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide gas is the product of the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels. Fossil fuels make our world go ‘round, so it’s easy to see why we can’t just get rid of them entirely. When you use a device that burns fuel, you are producing CO gas. In large quantities, it will take your life; in small quantities, it may cause headaches or nausea over prolonged exposure.

Devices and Items that Produce Carbon Monoxide

Because it is a product of the use of fossil fuels, carbon monoxide is produced by a whole lot of items you’ll have in your home already. The list is long: furnaces, kerosene heaters, space heaters, gas ovens, gas ranges, fireplaces, wood-burning fireplaces, chimneys, cigarette smoke, internal combustion heat engine exhaust, generators, propane stoves, charcoal grills, even lawn mowers and leaf blowers and more. Emergency Vehicles 145997531So if you want to stay warm in the winter, cook food in your kitchen, or use pretty much anything with an engine, you’ll create some form of carbon monoxide. However, if devices are regularly inspected (at least once a year!) by a professional and they are maintained in good condition, the likelihood of CO poisoning from one of these causes is going to be much smaller than it is with faulty furnaces, for example.

How to Minimize Causes of Carbon Monoxide

The best way to minimize your production of CO is to have professionals regularly inspect your appliances, as mentioned above. This includes inspecting all sources of CO, particularly your chimney and heater at the beginning of each cold season. Where possible, try to keep fuel-burning appliances in places where they can be ventilated – for example, open the window in the kitchen while you are cooking, or open the door or crack a window every once in a while when you have the heater running. This will allow oxygen to flow freely into your home and reduce the concentration of carbon monoxide. Additionally, carefully follow all instructions for use of fuel-burning appliances and equipment. Do NOT use a generator in an enclosed space and do not idle your car for long periods of time, even if the garage door is open. Any room in your house that has gas heat should always be ventilated so as to avoid the collection of CO fumes. Just be smart with your use of fossil fuels, have things inspected often, and you should be able to avoid the effects of CO poisoning in your home.