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Carbon Monoxide and Carbon Dioxide at Home and in the Office

Posted in Air Quality, on January 26, 2017 By Admin

Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide are not uncommon in a residential home or commercial office. If there is a suspicion of contamination, it’s time to find the source, and take the necessary steps to resolve the problem. Both Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) are difficult to detect off hand – they are both colorless and odorless. But in higher concentrations they can affect air quality and therefore affect personal health. Carbon Monoxide can potentially accumulate to a dangerous level when fuel-burning devices are not properly operating, or when a device is not properly vented. Carbon Dioxide, on the other hand, occurs naturally in nature – it’s in the atmosphere and very much connected to plants and animals. Needless to say, engine combustion, in vehicles and in industry, is also a source of CO2. Both gases need to be monitored, especially in high levels.

Sources of Carbon Dioxide

The industrial combustion of fossil fuels is an immense source of CO2 emission. These emissions affect both humans and the environment, and not in a positive way. Another huge contributor of CO2 is the combustion of fossil fuels in diesel and gasoline transportation. Hard to believe, but certain home appliances can also emit Carbon Dioxide – everything from clothes dryers, to space heaters, to various gas appliances (when not vented properly). In the home, one of the best ways of preventing CO2 is to ensure that all appliances are properly vented and regularly maintained. It’s also a good idea to have Carbon Dioxide detectors located in different parts of the house, just as an extra measure. Faulty HVAC systems (heating and cooling) can also produce Carbon Dioxide in levels that may be exceedingly high. This would cause such symptoms as headaches, dizziness, and even bouts of fatigue.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Blocked chimneys are a common source of Carbon Monoxide in the home. But with cleaning and maintenance this can be easily prevented. Indeed, there are numerous products on the market to prevent clogged chimneys and ensure proper exhaust. Fireplaces are also a common source of CO in the home. Here again, ventilation is key to preventing air contamination (CO is hazardous) and ensuring satisfactory air quality levels throughout the home. Carbon Monoxide is directly related to the depletion of oxygen, and therefore presents imminent dangers for occupants in a home or office environment. In many cases, appliances actually have safety shut-offs when CO is detected. But for optimum safety, home appliances and equipment should be professionally serviced, and regularly inspected. With CO, it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry – and that’s primarily about prevention.

Air quality testing can detect CO2 and/or CO

Today, air quality specialists use sophisticated testing protocols to detect indoor Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide.  Testing assesses the source and scope of a specific contamination, while offering a report of findings. Once identified, contamination (or the potential for contamination) can be addressed with various options for resolving the problems at hand.

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