1. What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon Monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that can be emitted by home appliances and can cause illness and death. Even low levels of carbon monoxide have been shown to be dangerous to all especially those with heart and lung disease, the elderly, pregnant woman, unborn children and children. Carbon monoxide poisoning produces flu-like symptoms, headache, sore throat, rapid heart beats, memory loss, thinking difficulties, and sensitivity to light, sound, smell, etc. Out of approximately 12,000 patients in the U.S. each year with flu-like symptoms, about 2,000 of them are thought to actually be suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
2. Do all space heaters, boilers, water heaters, and fireplaces produce carbon Monoxide?
All gas, oil, and coal appliances can produce acceptable levels of carbon monoxide. Appliances that are properly vented should never produce detectable levels and internally should produce less than 100 ppm of carbon monoxide. Un-vented appliances do give off carbon monoxide into the area; therefore the level that they produce should be 50 ppm of carbon monoxide or less. These appliances should only be operated with proper ventilation an for short periods of time.
3. Do ovens and stoves produce carbon monoxide?
All ovens produce carbon monoxide, even electric ones. Proper ventilation is recommended, especially during warm-up and self-cleaning operation. Carbon monoxide from gas ranges increases each time the oven door is opened.
4. Do cracked heat exchangers emit carbon monoxide?
Usually the small cracks that are found in heat exchangers do not emit carbon monoxide. Large holes or openings, however, can produce carbon monoxide. A cracked heat exchanger is a sign of poor operation and is a defect that that needs to be repaired before it becomes dangerous. If the furnace is emitting minimal levels of carbon monoxide into the area, the equipment is safe to operate.
5. If my appliances or heating system are producing carbon monoxide, do they need to be replaced?
Most appliances that are emitting high levels of carbon monoxide can be repaired or adjusted. Based on age or efficiency, repair cost needs to be compared to replacement cost and overall savings and safety.
6. If my carbon monoxide detector doesn’t go off, am I safe to assume that there are not dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in my home?
The standard carbon monoxide detectors on the market today will not alarm the homeowner of the presence of these low levels of carbon monoxide. The outdoor EPA carbon monoxide limit is 9 ppm. The only way that homeowners can detect these low levels of carbon monoxide in their homes is by contacting a Certified Analyst, like Clover Heating & Cooling, who has the knowledge and expertise to locate and correct the problem, or by purchasing a Low-Level Carbon Monoxide Monitor.
7. I had someone look at my furnace and water heater and he said that they are working properly. Are they safe to believe?
Anyone that evaluates the operation of equipment by sight alone is negligent, ill advised, poorly skilled, and jeopardizing your and your family’s safety.
8. Are most contractors trained in carbon monoxide testing?
Unfortunately there are many contractors who are not trained in the proper procedures for carbon monoxide detection and repair, and many do not have a digital carbon monoxide analyzer, the proper testing equipment. Be sure that your contractor is qualified!
9. How do I know that the contractor checking or servicing my equipment is qualified in carbon monoxide testing and repair?
The contractor must:
Have a digital carbon monoxide analyzer.
Inform you that carbon monoxide testing is part of their regular service.
Have carbon monoxide testing listed on their work ticket or invoice.
Ask you if you have other appliances to be tested.
Test the space and each appliance specifically.
Show you actual readings that they take.
Be listed with C-MAC or have proof of approved training.
10. Do fire departments, utilities and contractors all have the same abilities to test for carbon monoxide?
They all have the same opportunity to have the proper knowledge, but heating contractors should have more qualifications to pin-point the exact problem and repair it, because that is their main business.
11. Is rust on my equipment normal and can it indicate a carbon monoxide problem?
Rust is a sign that an appliance is not venting properly, which, over time, can cause a serious carbon monoxide problem to occur.
12. I had someone check my house for carbon monoxide without checking my appliances. Am I safe?
Carbon monoxide is an intermittent problem in many cases. It occurs at its highest levels at night when the house or building is closed up, with little or no traffic in and out. Checking the space only provides minimal information and guarantees very little.
13. Where can I purchase a carbon monoxide monitor?
Clover carries the NSI 3000 Low-Level CO Monitor, one of the most sensitive CO alarms available. See the specifications for this monitor and order it on-line directly from our site.