Staying Safe Inside the Home
This a bummer post. Carbon, specifically in the form of monoxide is bad for you. We all hear about our carbon footprint and maybe I’m not the only one, but I always imagine a series of footsteps made from black coal across a white carpet. That’s not what carbon is like at all. It can poison you and kill you. Sometimes you can’t see it, sometimes it’s going to kill you. Bad, see?
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and tasteless gas. It’s deadly to you in high concentrations by doing things to the oxygen cells attached to your red blood cells. Things like evicting oxygen and taking over, like a slumlord kicking out Tiny Tim’s family without even providing them with moving boxes. You find carbon monoxide in your home because appliances are doing a thing they shouldn’t do. Mostly imagine space heaters, water heaters and ovens. But those aren’t the only culprits. It’s also emitted in the car exhaust which is why you never run your car in the garage. The real reason you never run the car in the garage is because you want to be alive, you big dumb lovable idiot.
You can help yourself from not dying by purchasing and installing (and keeping live batteries in it) a carbon monoxide detector. They’re affordable and they tell you if you’re going to die or get really sick from a thing you can’t see or touch or taste or feel until your big old dumb brain high on lack of oxygen puts 2 and 2 together to discover you need help. Even then, treatment isn’t exactly high tech. The hospital will be like, Here, suck on this oxygen, maybe that’ll do the trick. And your big old dumb brain will get dumber and dumber.
New life rule: Buy a carbon monoxide detector. Do that. They can be either near the ceiling or near the floor since carbon monoxide is very similar density to oxygen and won’t gather like smoke in one level. I did a bunch of research on carbon monoxide detectors so you don’t have to. Carbon monoxide detectors range all over the place in price. I can’t recommend brands or models for you but they do last about 2-6 years and then they need to be replaced because the detector-y part of it runs out and isn’t going to protect you after its lifetime. Some plug right into an outlet but if you get a kind that runs on batteries, using lithium batteries will mean you shouldn’t have to replace the batteries before the entire detector runs out.
You should keep several detectors in your home. Near bedrooms and main living areas are the important spaces. It seems to depend how big your space is by how many detectors you should have in your home. Read the owner’s manual to see what your detector company recommends for square footage. How many you need in your home varies widely but a general rule of thumb is to place near all sleeping areas and where fuel burning appliances are located. Carbon monoxide poisoning initially can look like the flu or a rough night out drinking. The detectors you’ve purchased and placed smartly in your home are what are going to save you.
Carbon dioxide, on the other hand, is not something you should be fearing but instead celebrating. Carbon dioxide is responsible for important things like turning that sugar into alcohol in beer and wine. It can be a trace gas, is soluble in water and isn’t always impeccable for the environment but more people should toast to the mighty carbon dioxide, especially if your drink was created or cooled with dry ice. Dry ice is frozen solid carbon dioxide! Crazy, right? Anyway, you’re not going to get poisoned by this in your home though it’s not for sure yet what kind of role it will play in the shrinking ozone / warming earth trends.
So there you go. That’s all you need to know about carbon, unless you’re a carbon research scientist then you should know a lot more. I want to call carbon monoxide the silent killer but that’s heart disease so let’s just call the poisoning part of carbon monoxide preventable!