Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Propane

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is responsible for almost 25% of all propane related fatalities. Carbon Monoxide is a product of incomplete gas combustion often because appliances are imporperly adjusted. Properly functioning propane appliances will produce what is know as an ideal burn during the combustion and present no danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning. With propane, combustions will occur when the gas in air mixture is between 2.2 and 9.6 and is refered to as the limits of flammability. Combustions will occur anywhere between these gas to air ratios with the ideal burn being about 4 parts propane tand 96 parts air. Complete combustion of propane is evident by a blue burning flame. Incomplete combustion is defined as within limits of flammablility but higher or lower than the ideal ratio and incomplete combustion can occur in one of two ways. A lean burn can be recognized when flames appear to lift away from the burner and can potentially go out. A rich burn is very simple as the flames are much larger than they are supposed to be and are largely yellow in colour. Several products of incomplete combustion that are easily visable and if notice action should be taken immediately. Visable signs of incomplete combustion include burner flame appearance, soot collecting on appliance windows and excessive water vapours forming on windows and cool surfaces during appliances operation. Appliance service and adjustments are needed if any of these visable signs of imcomplete combustion are found. Only qualified technicans should make these adjustments and service work.

Carbon Monoxide is a deadly toxic gas undetectable by smell that can harm or kill animals, plants and people. Carbon Monoxide poisoning is not limited to propane gas and is a product of incomplete combustion of natural gas as well. The best defense against Carbon Monoxide poisoning is to have working CO detectors installed throughout the living space of a home. If any of the following signs are noticed, take action immediately as a high level of CO is likely to be present.
Aldehydes – This toxic gas is detected by smell and gives sensation of a metallic taste in ones mouth after exposure and indicates Carbon Monoxide is likely present.
Health Symptoms – Carbon Monoxide causes headaches, dizziness, nausea, shortness of breath and light-headedness. Fresh air is needed immediately followed by medical attention.
Dead Plants – Dangerous levels of Carbon Monoxide are likely if the plants in your home have all of a sudden died or are withering.

Action needs to be taken immediately if any of the above signs are noticed.