Carbon Monoxide: A Silent But Deadly Threat to You and Your Family

Published on: October 11, 2014
Carbon monoxide monitor | AC Southeast®

Carbon monoxide gas (CO) is colorless, odorless and poisonous to humans and animals in higher concentrations. It can be produced as a by-product of combustion in gas stoves, furnaces, gas water heaters and fireplaces.


Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, nausea, confusion, headaches, vomiting, weakness and chest pain. Loss of consciousness and death are also possible if exposure is extensive enough. CO poisoning can be hard to diagnose since its symptoms are similar to the flu and other more common health problems.

Who’s at Risk of CO Poisoning?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those most at risk include unborn babies and small infants, and people with chronic disorders such as heart disease, respiratory diseases and anemia. Every year, more than 20,000 people visit emergency rooms, with over 4000 of them being hospitalized. More than 400 lead to death.

How Does the Poison Work?

Carbon monoxide enters the bloodstream faster than oxygen does, thereby replacing the oxygen supply. According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission, most people won’t experience any symptoms with prolonged exposure in concentrations of 1 to 70 parts per million (ppm). Above 70 ppm, some will experience headaches, nausea and weakness. In concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, people can become disoriented, unconscious, or may even die.

What Can I Do?

You can purchase CO detectors and have them installed outside sleeping areas. These alarms will warn you before levels of CO become dangerous to you or your family. If an alarm goes off, immediately remove your family from the home and go outside for fresh air. To find a contractor in your area who can help you detect whether your home is at risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, contact AirConditioningSouthEast.com. Our NATE-certified technicians are here to serve the HVAC needs of homeowners throughout the Southeastern United States.