Carbon monoxide, also known as the silent killer is a colorless, odorless, and very toxic gas. In high enough doses, it can incapacitate and even kill within minutes. Different industries have taken various steps to address this issue, so the overall risk is low. However, if it ends up in your Wingate, NC home, you need to treat it as an indoor air quality emergency.
Carbon Monoxide is Produced when You Burn Fossil Fuels
Thanks to the growing pervasiveness of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, natural gas is becoming a more popular heating and energy source in the United States. Oil, natural gas, and other fossil fuels emit carbon monoxide when they burn, and even if you can’t smell their emissions, carbon monoxide levels might be rising in your home. Fortunately, natural gas that comes through a pipeline into your home should have odor additives. If you smell rotten eggs, leave your house immediately.
Carbon monoxide detectors are affordable and readily available. Many smoke detectors also detect carbon monoxide, but you’ll need to check the packaging or product manual to make sure that the device does both. You don’t need carbon monoxide detectors in every room — typically one on each floor and one in the kitchen will provide adequate coverage. However, you’ll still need smoke detectors in each bedroom.
Other Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Vehicles, lawn equipment, and appliances aren’t the only sources of carbon monoxide. Literally, anything that burns has the potential to emit carbon monoxide, so even candles and tobacco smoke emit trace amounts of this gas. The amounts are usually so tiny from these sources that they don’t cause an issue, but if your home is particularly airtight and you burn a lot of candles, the health risk is tiny but present.
Chimneys pose a larger risk in the winter — a small hole or crack can let carbon monoxide seep into your home anytime you burn firewood. Carbon monoxide particles are smaller than most particulates and other contaminants, so you can’t rely on your air filter to scrub this hazard from the air.