Where does Carbon Monoxide come from?

Although the majority of Carbon Monoxide (CO) is naturally produced and breathed in by humans daily, the effect that it has on us is minimal due to it's very very low concentration in the air (0.00001% of the Earth's atomosphere). Volcanoes, land fires (such as forest or grassland fires) and photochemical reactions in the troposphere all produce carbon monoxide. Normally CO is produced if insufficient oxygen is present when burning carbon containing materials such as gas, oil, coal or wood.

The real danger of carbon monoxide lies when it is produced in a confined or poorly ventilated space, such as a home, factory or workshop. Many commonly used household or workplace devices have the potential to produce carbon monoxide if the device is not well maintained. These devices include:

  • gas fires/heating
  • gas water heaters/central heating systems
  • gas stoves/ovens
  • woodstoves
  • fireplaces
  • charcoal grills
  • fuel powered garden equipment such as lawnmowers
  • cars and any fuel powered automobiles
  • fuel burning furnaces
  • internal combustion engines
  • any other gas, petrol, oil, coal, wood, propane, kerosine or fuel burning appliances/devices

Now that you know where carbon monoxide comes from, why not read more about CO in our other carbon monoxide FAQ's.

What is Carbon Monoxide?

Why do I need a CO detector/alarm?

What are the symptoms of CO poisoning?

Where should I place my CO detector?

Information for landlords