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Sources of Carbon Dioxide and Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

Posted in Air Quality, on October 06, 2015

Are you suspecting that carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide might be contaminating your home? Perhaps it's time you considered these possible sources and took the necessary steps to decrease pollution. Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO) are colorless and odorless gases that affect air quality and human health in high concentrations. Carbon monoxide can accumulate to dangerous levels indoors when fuel-burning devices aren't properly operated, vented, or maintained. On the other hand, carbon dioxide occurs naturally in the atmosphere as part of plant photosynthesis, animal metabolism, and combustion. High CO2 levels inside your home could contribute to sick building syndrome, resulting in symptoms such as fatigue and breathing difficulties. Here's a look at some of the sources of these gases that could potentially affect your health.

Sources of Carbon Dioxide in the Home


This is an important energy source in numerous countries and the combustion of fossil fuels needed to produce electricity is a huge source of CO2 emissions. It's important to note that the kind of fossil fuel used in electricity production will emit varying quantities of carbon dioxide. For instance, to generate a specified amount of electricity, burning coal will generate more carbon dioxide than natural gas or oil.


This is another huge contributor to carbon emissions globally. The combustion of fossil fuels for instance diesel and gasoline to transport goods and people is another important source of emissions.


Certain appliances can produce elevated carbon dioxide levels. They include dryers, stoves, space heaters, and other unvented gas appliances. One way of preventing the accumulation is ensuring that all appliances are vented properly. Furthermore, you should check them regularly to ensure proper functioning. Consider carbon dioxide detectors for household use; this is another way of verifying that your appliances aren't faulty.


A faulty HVAC system could produce high carbon dioxide levels since numerous homes rely on the system for air recirculation. Indications of high carbon dioxide levels among occupants include headaches, difficulty breathing, dizziness, and fatigue. Ensure you maintain your system by engaging professional services for inspection and cleaning every 1-2 years to ensure proper functioning. You should also inspect the system if construction work has just taken place in your home or if the system is old and hasn't been maintained.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

Clogged chimney

A blocked chimney because of leaves or bird's nest can generate combustion by-products, including CO in your home. Cracked masonry could potentially cause blockage as well. Nevertheless, periodic cleaning and inspection helps prevent these issues. You should also consider placing a screen cap on top of the chimney to prevent nest building.

Gas-powered and Wood burning Fireplaces

These are common household sources of CO. Opening the window a few inches enables fresh air to circulate in a room while preventing the accumulation of negative pressure or backdrafting, which can draw CO and other household toxins. Avoid using treated woods, scrap lumber, and painted wood in your fireplace. Instead, burn seasoned firewood for that purpose. Furthermore, before starting a fire in the fireplace, ensure you open the damper and leave the flue open even if the fire is nearly out. You'll discover that the last smoldering embers generate an elevated concentration of poisonous carbon monoxide.

Gas logs

Burners or gas logs generate considerable CO because the less-effective yellow flames aim to produce a cozy atmosphere. If your fireplace lacks a vent, you should be particularly careful because this kind of appliance vents combustion by-products into a room. A number of gas log sets have a sensor for shutting down the appliance if oxygen decreases to a certain level. The major danger is that CO production can still occur even if oxygen depletion doesn't occur from the immediate environment. For this reason, it's advisable to use an appliance that features a CO safety shut-off device. Are you aware your home is a source of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide pollution? Check out these possible household sources and adopt the necessary measures to prevent detrimental effects. If you require assistance with air quality problems, please contact us for a solution: (416)414-5690

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