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Indoor Air Quality in the Summer: Carbon Monoxide

We often assume that indoor air quality improves in the summer simply because more windows are open and more air circulates. Many of the main issues that contribute to poor air quality are also associated with poor ventilation; moisture build up leads to mould, for example, and it’s the build-up of gases like radon in an enclosed area that leads to exposure to dangerous concentrations.

Our common summertime habits, though, can present some unique issues of their own.

BBQ season is here
BBQ safety is an issue all of its own, however there’s a very particular issue that comes up more and more often with so many of us in the GTA living in condos and smaller spaces. We all want to enjoy the outdoors and get in on the grilling, but your first consideration should be the space you intend to put the BBQ itself. Is it adequate?

Everyone knows that you shouldn’t BBQ indoors because it can cause carbon monoxide poisoning, however in a small balcony where there’s no wind, or a wind that’s blowing the wrong way, the fumes can enter into your apartment.

  • Sometimes apartment and condo balconies create a shelter from the wind, or face prevailing winds.
  • The ideal is to place the BBQ at least 10 feet from any building
  • Be aware of which direction the fumes are blowing

Air Conditioning
The pundits are calling for a very hot summer in 2012, meaning a smoggy one for most of Southern Ontario. Carbon monoxide is just one component among the mix of pollutants in the air we breathe, and it’s of particular concern if you live near highways or city streets.

Air conditioning by itself doesn’t produce carbon monoxide but there are a couple of things to keep in mind.

  • If your AC is drawing air from the outside, then you have to consider where that air is coming from.
  • Is the outside vent free of debris?
  • Where does it draw from directly? – Is there a possibility of idling cars in the immediate area? That can mean it’s drawing carbon monoxide right into your home.
  • Think carefully about the placement of any window units!

If you live in a house and your natural gas furnace and air conditioning unit are located in a single utility room, make sure that it’s drawing air from the outside. Check that any vents are clear and free of debris, otherwise the AC unit may be drawing air from the utility room. Carbon monoxide poisoning has occurred when the furnace and AC were turned on in close proximity to each other, as can happen in the early spring when temperatures fluctuate wildly.

Exposure to carbon monoxide is of particular concern with people who have existing lung and heart problems, children or the elderly.

Home Monitors & Professional Carbon Monoxide Testing
There’s a two pronged approach that goes a long way towards preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home.

  • Install a home carbon monoxide monitor
  • Have an annual home inspection that includes heating and AC systems, chimney and more

Know the Symptoms:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Sleepiness
  • Confusion
  • Headache

Get help right away!

When it comes to CO (Carbon Monoxide) Testing, ESG is your ticket to safety

  • We measure CO outside as well as inside your home
  • Our building pressure diagnostics can prevent production and dispersion of CO within a building
  • Our equipment can measure system exhausts and correct problems to prevent future issues
  • Our sensors are capable of detecting CO levels that most home detectors will miss.

Let us give you peace of mind – call the Environmental Services Group for a quote.

In The News:
ESG is now an official supplier of HGTV’s Income Properties!

Environmental Services Group is a cutting edge environmental consulting firm based in Toronto and servicing both the Greater Toronto Area and Ontario. We provide state-of-the-art, industry-leading expertise in remedying environmental hazards such as mold, lead, asbestos and much more. Call 416-575-6111 or visit our website today for a pressure-free initial consultation. You’ll be glad you did!

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