What are symptoms of bad fuel gas

Carbon monoxide (CO) - the unappreciated danger

++ toxic + flammable + colorless + invisible + odorless + tasteless ++

Density ratio of CO to dry air 0.97 - roughly the same weight. Even in very low concentrations in the air we breathe, CO leads to poisoning!

The MAK value, which is the maximum permissible concentration of a substance in the breathable air at the workplace, is often used as the limit value. This value is very low for CO (high toxicity!).

MAK value CO: 30 ppm (0.003 vol%)

Carbon monoxide results from the incomplete combustion (lack of air / oxygen) of carbon-containing substances. These are, for example, gases (including natural gas, liquid gas), oil, wood, pellets, coal, charcoal (grill!), Fuels such as gasoline and diesel, etc.

Ideal combustion of natural gas:

Methane (CH4) + oxygen (2 O2) -> carbon dioxide (CO2) + water vapor (2 H2O).

But if too little oxygen is available, then (partly) CO is produced. Therefore important:

  • always ensure sufficient air supply
  • Do not operate open fireplaces (grills with flame, etc ...) or combustion engines in closed or poorly ventilated rooms
  • Have the heating / chimney regularly serviced by a specialist (service staff, chimney sweep)

Possible causes for a bad draft of the chimney / exhaust pipe or a lack of oxygen during the combustion can be:

  • Smoke extraction is hindered - e.g. bird's nest in the beginning of the smoke, etc.
  • The intake opening of the heater is dirty - e.g. animal hair, flowers, leaves, etc.
  • Unfavorable air currents in the room due to fans, extractor hoods, air conditioners, etc ...
  • "Denser rooms" after window / door renovations
  • Low pressure weather, warm outside temperatures, cold combustion chamber

Until there is a "draft", combustion gases can get into the room.
Note: Warmed gases (including heated air) are lighter than air at normal temperature, they experience a buoyancy. The exhaust gas discharge through the chimney therefore creates a draft in the combustion chamber, which is stronger the higher the chimney is, which holds the heated air together in a concentrated manner. This suction keeps the combustion process going.

The effect on the organism is that carbon monoxide attaches to the hemoglobin of the blood. (COHb value) and thus blocks the uptake of oxygen. Symptoms of CO poisoning include: headache, dizziness, confusion, visual disturbances, fatigue, cramps, cerebral edema, collapse, unconsciousness and even coma. In case of high dose or long exposure -> death!

At Suspected CO poisoning:

Immediately the Fire department emergency number 122 or if injured the Emergency number 144 choose.

CO detectors for home use from approx. 40 euros, they emit an alarm when the MAK value is reached.

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