Carbon monoxide: a silent killer.
That isn’t us being hyperbolic, either – it’s estimated that there were approximately 15 deaths between 2011 and 2016 which are directly attributable to carbon monoxide poisoning.
And that isn’t including the myriad of other negative health problems that can arise as the result of carbon monoxide poisoning, either, which can affect your health and wellbeing in a number of other ways.
The devastating truth is, however, that we may never know exactly how many cases carbon monoxide (or CO for short) poisoning has contributed to.
Why CO poisoning is so dangerous
While CO by itself may not be that dangerous, it can still pose a number of health problems.
That’s because CO in the air displaces oxygen, affecting your ability to breathe. Over time, this can lead to a number of problems as the amount of oxygen reaching vital organs like your heart and brain also drops:
- Dizziness and lightheadedness
- Impaired judgement
- Vision problems
- Fatigue and lethargy
- Confusion and memory lapses
- Chest pain
Over longer periods of time, it can escalate to loss of consciousness, seizures, and even coma or death.
Because carbon monoxide poisoning can kill body cells by depriving them of oxygen, especially in the brain, there is also a risk of long-term neurological problems in people who undergo prolonged or severe poisoning.
And that’s the key word right there: prolonged. In the vast majority of cases, CO leaks start small and gradually build, so slowly that you don’t even notice. It’s like the frog slowly being boiled in the pot – the slow build-up is exactly what makes it so dangerous.
Can you smell carbon monoxide?
The other thing that makes CO poisoning so insidious is that without specialised equipment, it’s impossible to detect a leak at all.
Carbon monoxide is completely odourless, tasteless, and invisible. The scary fact is that if you have a gas heater, you could have an undetected CO leak in your house without even realising it.
While your nose mightn’t be able to detect CO leaks, fortunately, there are special tools that can diagnose these potential dangers.
In addition to heating and cooling installation, our specialists can also take a look at your existing gas heating system and detect any CO-related issues that may be coming from it, protecting you from the negative consequences of a CO leak.
Moreover, our team of heating and cooling experts in Melbourne can also install CO alarms in your home. Just like smoke alarms, these keep a constant watch over your home, alerting you to CO leaks in your home.
If we detect any issues during your CO inspection or your CO alarm goes off, our team can fix the issue for you right there and then.
Can carbon monoxide come from central heating? Do gas heaters produce carbon monoxide?
Under normal circumstances with fully-functioning gas appliances, you shouldn’t need to worry about carbon monoxide.
Of course, as we all know, our appliances don’t always work as they should.
Carbon monoxide is the byproduct of incomplete burning, which is itself often the result of issues with gas appliances around the home. This issue can be exacerbated with improper ventilation around the house.
And it isn’t just your stove, either – in many cases, your gas heating system may be to blame.
Whether it’s a problem with a specific component or the consequence of accumulated wear-and-tear in your system, the fact of the matter is that your central heating is the #1 candidate for a carbon monoxide problem.
Is it safe to have a gas heater in the house?
Okay, so we may have alarmed you a little bit – especially since we’re headed into winter and your heating system is about to see a lot more use!
Don’t worry though, it’s still OK to keep using your gas heater. You don’t need to go cold to protect yourself from the chances of CO poisoning.
Of course, that comes with a bit of a caveat: namely, the fact that said gas heating systems (be they central heaters or space heaters) need to be well-maintained and looked after!
How do you know if your gas heater is leaking carbon monoxide?
As we mentioned above, carbon monoxide is invisible, tasteless and odourless. There’s no way to detect CO on your own (unless you’re a canary – fun fact, this is where the saying “canary in the coalmine” comes from.)
If you want to know whether your gas heater is leaking carbon monoxide, there are a couple of ways you can do that.
One is to install carbon monoxide alarms like we mentioned further up. Another is to get your gas heating system inspected for leaks or other issues that may result in a CO leak. Our team uses specialised equipment to detect CO and diagnose the root of the problem.
Worried about what you’re breathing in? Call Alpha Air for gas heater service and carbon monoxide testing to ensure your heating system is prepped for winter.
How long does it take to air out carbon monoxide?
That depends: are you asking how long it takes to air carbon monoxide out of a room? Or how long it takes to leave your body?
Assuming you’re referring to the first, it really depends. Factors such as your home ventilation can affect the rate at which CO is aired out of your property (here’s a tip: open windows and use the fan setting on your air conditioning to speed the process up).
As for your body however, it’s a lot easier to give a number – for most people, it can take 4-6 hours for most to exhale half of the carbon monoxide in their blood, though this can depend on the amount of CO inhaled.
Can central heat and air cause carbon monoxide if it is a HVAC system?
This is the first “no” answer that we’re able to give you!
As we mentioned above, carbon monoxide is the result of gas being improperly burned. For that to happen, you need to use gas first – something that ducted heating and cooling systems don’t use at all.
Instead, most ducted HVAC systems (and ductless split systems, for that matter) are powered using electricity. No burning is involved at all – and without gas, there can’t be any carbon monoxide production.
While some refer to air conditioning refrigerants as gas, it’s important to remember that unlike in a gas heating system, this refrigerant isn’t being burned, which in turn means that there’s no chance of carbon monoxide.
Of course, reducing your risk of a CO leak isn’t the only advantage of replacing your gas-powered central heating or space heater with HVAC ducted heating installation.
On top of that, HVAC:
- Is more flexible, doubling-up as an air conditioner in summer
- Has In-built filtering to maintain your indoor air quality
- Is equipped fan settings to help with ventilation
- Has more advanced options, including individual zone control
Thinking of ducted heating and cooling in Melbourne? If so, it might be time to get the conversation started with Alpha Air!
Keep your home safe from carbon monoxide
Carbon monoxide is dangerous – that’s why it’s so important that you take steps to ensure that your home’s various gas systems aren’t causing any CO-related problems.
Not all heating and cooling companies in Melbourne offer gas inspections as well – however, ours does. In addition to helping you stay comfortable no matter the weather outside, our CO inspection services and repairs ensure that you stay safe from this invisible threat.
And if you’re in the market for a new heating and cooling solution, we’ve got you covered on that front too!
We make it our mission to deliver the best service possible.
That doesn’t just mean choosing the right system and providing expert installation, either – it also means taking great care to look after your home, clean up after ourselves, and treat you and your property with respect.
We’re especially proud of our ability to carry out ducted heating installation in a single day, regardless of how expansive your system may be!