Those which burn fuels for cooking, warmth, or decorative purposes are called Combustion Appliances.
These combustion appliances do you have at your home?
If so, the combustion process produces heat and flue gases. Usually, these combustion products, including visible smoke and various invisible gases, are vented outdoors through a chimney or vent pipe. Unfortunately, in some cases, they can instead escape into your home and produce combustion pollutants, where they risk causing an array of health and other issues.
YES. Studies revealed that the air quality could be worse & more polluted than the outdoor air in big cities. Because nowadays people spend most of their time at home, indoor air quality can affect their well-being & health. Air pollution is especially more harmful & susceptible to infants, young children, and the elderly group. People suffering from chronic respiratory diseases such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) and asthma, cardiovascular illness, or immune system diseases are also more vulnerable to pollutants.
Combustion pollutants are gases and small particles that come from burning fuels such as natural or LP gas, kerosene, fuel oil, wood, or coal. The amounts of pollutants produced depend on the type of appliance you installed at your home and how well the combustion appliances are maintained, vented, and installed. Toxic and harmful substances are found in combustion gases. Some of them are:
Combustion pollutants come from the exhaust from the car, tobacco smoke, lawn mower internal combustion engines, and the fuel of motor vehicles. Some hobby activities such as wood burning, soldering & welding, and vented or unvented combustion appliances can also produce combustion pollutants.
The term “vented” refers to a fireplace or space heater with a hood, shield, chimney, or other components that direct the heat outwards and simultaneously divert any hazardous fumes. The vented appliance is intended to be a heat source for significant areas such as an entire home or business. These appliances can release high levels of pollutants directly into your home if a vent is not installed correctly or blocked or leaked.
Unvented appliances are intended to heat compact areas only, single rooms or offices, etc. So they produce combustion pollutants inside.
No, don’t ever use these appliances inside homes, truck-caps, or tents. Burning and smoldering charcoal release carbon monoxide that can harm or kill you if you use it indoors for cooking or heating.
According to Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), nearly 200 people die each year because of using combustion appliances in the home that release carbon monoxide. Carbon monoxide exposure lowers the blood’s capacity to carry oxygen. The substance has no odor, and some of its symptoms are similar to those of common ailments. This is especially dangerous since the lethal effects of carbon monoxide will not be noticed until it is too late to take measures against them.
Breathing low levels of carbon monoxide cause fatigue and increases chest pain if the person suffers from chronic heart disease. Breathing higher chemical levels can cause symptoms such as headaches, dizziness, vomiting, nausea, and weakness in healthy people. If inhaled this chemical at very high levels, then it can cause loss of consciousness and death.
Breathing nitrogen oxide at a higher level might irritate the respiratory tract and cause shortness of breath. Children and persons with respiratory problems like asthma may be more vulnerable to nitrogen dioxide than healthy people.
Particles suspended in the air might irritate your eyes, nose, throat, and lungs. They can exacerbate respiratory symptoms, particularly in those who have chronic lung illness or heart disease. The health effects of breathing particles are influenced by various factors, including particle size and chemical composition.
Breathing Sulfur dioxide at low levels – causes eye, nose, and respiratory tract irritation.
If inhaled at high levels, it causes the lung airways to narrow. This causes chest tightness, wheezing, or breathing problems. People with asthma are more vulnerable to the sulfur dioxide effects.
Combustion may release other pollutants such as unburned hydrocarbons and aldehydes.
If you suspect that combustion pollutants are affecting your health, then you can do these things-
Exposure to carbon monoxide, you may lose consciousness and die if you do nothing. Contact a doctor immediately for proper treatment. Prompt medical care is essential. To rule out whether carbon monoxide affects your health, it is necessary to do the required blood tests that your doctor suggests.
You should also contact a qualified appliance service company to have your appliances inspected and adjusted if needed.
You can reduce your exposure to combustion pollutants by proper selection, installation, inspection, and maintenance of your appliances. Using your appliances correctly and providing good ventilation in your home can also reduce your exposure to these pollutants.
Additionally, several different residential carbon monoxide detectors will provide maximum protection & warn consumers of harmful carbon monoxide levels in the home.
You should have your appliances professionally installed. Qualified installers know how to install the appliance and follow all the installation guidelines and applicable building codes. If the appliance is not correctly installed, it can release dangerous pollutants in your home and create a fire hazard.
Following the recommendations of the manufacturer is crucial. The same combustion appliance may have different maintenance & inspections need, depending upon your location.
In general, in furnaces that burn fuel, it’s always a good idea to check out the flame on the burner regularly.
Before each heating season, Always inspect and clean your flues for leakage and blockage by creosote or debris.