Even the name, carbon monoxide (CO), sounds ominous and with good reason. This colourless and odourless gas can affect your health and the well being of your family even in low doses by decreasing the ability of the blood to carry oxygen and can build up in your bloodstream if left unchecked. Where does carbon monoxide come from and what you can do to lessen the levels that you find in your home? It’s good to know that although this gas is a common by product of the combustion of fossil fuels, appliances that are properly installed and maintained emit no dangerous levels of this gas. Natural gas, oil and propane appliances are usually safely vented to the outside, but when this process is disrupted, the levels of CO can rise quickly. Burning wood, having a crack in your furnace’s heat exchanger, idling your car and letting it warm up in the garage and even a bird’s nest in a chimney can cause levels of CO to increase, but thankfully there are a few things you can do to reverse or avoid the process altogether. Have fuel burning appliances checked on a yearly basis to make sure they are in good working order before the cold weather sets in. Never use a stove top or oven that uses natural gas to heat your home. The clothes dryer ductwork needs to be cleaned regularly and, of course, getting a carbon monoxide detector is another good idea. There are three different kinds to choose from—electrochemical, biomimetic and Metal-oxide-semi-conductor (MOS). Regardless of the one you choose, make sure to look for one that has a Canadian Standards Association (CSA) sticker on it. As well, you can choose a detector with a memory if you want to keep track of the kind of low level exposure that can be harmful over time. Oosterveld Heating and Air Conditioning is a family owned and operated business servicing Guelph and the surrounding areas. You can see their fine selection of Lennox equipment at www.oosterveldheating.com or call them at 519-837-2351 for more information. Dive into Summer Savings! Receive up to $2,000* with purchase of a new Lennox home comfort system. Offers valid on installations from July 1 to August 23, 2013.