Do you worry about the quality of the air you and your family breathe indoors? You should! Poor indoor air quality can lead to many health problems, including asthma, allergies, and even cancer. Some consumers have turned to carbon dioxide detectors as a means to check their indoor air quality. But before you run out and buy one, ask yourself: Do I actually need one? It’s possible that consumers have mistakenly been buying the detectors because they don’t know the difference between carbon dioxide (CO2) and carbon monoxide (CO).
What is Carbon Dioxide?
Carbon dioxide is a by-product of human respiration, but in high quantities, it can be deadly. Dizziness, inability to breathe and loss of consciousness are symptoms that may be caused by excessive amounts of carbon dioxide. The chance of carbon dioxide buildup is low unless your home is small and inadequately ventilated.
The most frequent situations in which you’ll notice high CO2 levels in your house are when you use a fire extinguisher in a poorly ventilated room. If you have to use your fire extinguisher, it’s ideal to open the windows no matter how big your home is. The smoke and carbon dioxide from the fire extinguisher will be dispersed this way.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning charcoal, propane, gasoline, wood, or other fuel. Houses that use gas appliances are at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning if the gas utilizing appliance isn’t properly burning its fuel source. This can also happen if there are leaks in exhaust pipes, housings, etc.
When carbon dioxide levels in your blood rise, your body will mistake it for oxygen and replace the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to significant tissue damage or even death. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the most common symptom.
The effects of carbon monoxide poisoning can be dangerous, more so for those who are sleeping or intoxicated. Over 400 people die from carbon monoxide per year, and some die before even knowing that they are in danger. Here are the symptoms so that you can identify potential cases of carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Dull headache
- Loss of consciousness
- Shortness of breath
- Weakness and lethargy
- Nausea or vomiting
- Blurred vision
- Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
The best method to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning is to prevent it from happening in the first place. If your house has gas appliances, maintain them on a regular basis. This will enable you to proactively identify potential hazards that may cause carbon monoxide leaks. Keep in mind that your car is also a source of carbon monoxide. This is why it’s important to open your garage when you are warming up your car in the morning. You also shouldn’t use commercial heaters used in your home since they create far more carbon monoxide than can be managed by indoor air circulation.
Secondly, you can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning by using CO detectors. Carbon monoxide detectors, like their CO2 counterparts, may be purchased for a reasonable price at your local hardware store. When CO levels reach dangerous heights, it will emit an unnerving siren that differs from your fire alarm. This is a cue to either evacuate the building or open windows to get fresh air into the area.
Why the Confusion?
CO2 emissions are one of the leading causes of death. This is due to air pollution generated by fossil-fuel burning infrastructure (wastes, manufacturing, oil tankers, and so on). Consumers, possibly yourself included, may have come to the conclusion that they should buy CO2 testers for their homes as a result of this. It’s also quite possible that consumers are purchasing carbon dioxide detectors because they believe them to be carbon monoxide detectors. Whatever the case may be, recognizing the difference can help you make an informed decision.
Which Should You Buy?
There aren’t many reasons to buy a carbon dioxide detector for your house. Carbon dioxide buildup can be prevented easily, and the instances when it would appear are rare. Carbon monoxide is, however, quite prevalent in houses with gas appliances or a connected garage. If CO levels reach critical levels near your gas equipment or in your garage, a carbon monoxide detector will help you detect if CO levels reach dangerous amounts. These detectors have the potential to save your life. Don’t wait till it’s too late to have them installed.