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Old 01-28-2008, 12:23 PM   #11
abracadabra's Avatar
Dec 2006
Newnan, Georgia
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I have to disagree with Bernie that you have to have a "nasty" headache for it to be a sign of CO poisioning.

Just a headache could be a sign of CO poisioning. Even a mild headache!

But if you can afford a tank of LP gas you can afford a CO monitor. Don't count on a headache as an indicator.
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Old 01-28-2008, 02:28 PM   #12
Bernie Brewer
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Feb 2006
Eldorado, WI
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No, no you misunderstand, or at least I didn't state it very well. A headache COULD be a sign of CO poisoning. I've had that experience several times in the winter on an enclosed jobsite. So if you are getting a headache, esp if you're like me and don't get them very often, couple that with the situation you might be in, then get outside right away. Sorry if I said that wrong.

EDIT: you don't necessarily get a headache with CO poisoning, but I always did..........
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Old 01-28-2008, 06:36 PM   #13
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Feb 2007
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according to the govt publication I have sitting here carbon monoxide poising is cumulative and symptoms include but are not limited to: headache, drowsiness, dizziness and loss of muscular power.

The thing with CO is it has a higher affinity to your blood (the hemoglobin right?)than O2 does. On top of that, once a CO molecule has attached to a cell, that cell is permanently incapacitated. Therefore after CO exposure your respiratory capacity will be lower until the cells are replaced.

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:01 AM   #14
Got Trub?
Apr 2007
Washington State
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Originally Posted by drayman86
Last week, my buddy and I experienced a pretty severe episode of CO poisoning while brewing in the garage. I became very light-headed, and he nearly most conciseness.
The effects haven't worn off...

All kidding aside this is a serious concern. CO is odorless and colorless and the signs/symptoms can be subtle and insidious until it is too late. Couple that with the propensity of homebrewers to hoist a few while brewing and the danger is clear.

If you are going to brew indoors then a CO monitor is essential. CO is heavier then air so cracking a window may not be sufficient. If you brew in your garage the best way to ventilate would be to raise the garage door up a foot or so. Alternatively BeerMuncher's approach with fans should be more then enough.


When not brewing I'm an ER doc at a hospital with a Hyperbaric chamber where we treat CO poisoning all the time.

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:09 AM   #15
5 Is Not Enough
Oct 2007
Erie, PA
Posts: 463
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Originally Posted by RichBrewer
Now that sounds like a mandatory piece of equipment for anyone who brews in an enclosed area with a propane burner!
I think it should also be known that Natural Gas can produce Carbon Monoxide as well.

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:45 AM   #16
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Nov 2007
westlake village, ca
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Originally Posted by RichBrewer
I stickied this thread. This is an extremely important issue that everyone should be aware of.
Thanks for that Moderator. I wouldn't have caught it otherwise.
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Old 01-29-2008, 02:13 PM   #17
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Mar 2007
Jacksonville, FL, Florida
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I had this same experience before. I brew in my garage which is actually part of my basement. The first time, I got a nasty headache right towards the end of my brew session. At the time I just thought that I had gotten a migraine. Two weeks later I experienced the same headache after brewing with some feelings of nausea...then I knew for sure. I had this problem even though I had my garage door completely open and our side door propped open. To remedy the problem I placed a fan in the doorway blowing out and I made a concious effort not to stand over my brewpot for extended periods. I have had migraines before but these headaches were far worse than any migraine I've had before. LESSON LEARNED!!...the hard way.

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Old 01-29-2008, 02:31 PM   #18
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Jan 2008
Gainesville, Virginia
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Originally Posted by Got Trub?
CO is heavier then air
CO is heavier than air but not enough that it stays at the bottom when air is being mixed. Without proper ventilation, say a basement that isn't used, then the CO will quickly form at the floor. However, any movement in the room (even convection of air caused by the burner) will mix the CO in with the rest of the gases throughout the room.

Cracking the garage door may in fact not be enough.

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Old 01-29-2008, 03:10 PM   #19

Great post on a serious subject. I had a CO detector in my garage in my old house where I brewed and will be getting one for the new house's garage, too. I spent one holiday season working part time for First Alert, helping out with answering their help line. That's their busiest time of year. I learned a thing or two in my short time there.

Carbon monoxide is the #1 cause of poisoning death in the US. It can be given off by home appliances or even a car in an attached garage. Most people that have an alarm go off think their alarm is defective when, in fact, they really do have a CO problem. 90% of the calls I got when I worked for FA were of that nature.

If you have a newer home, you're even at more risk because most newer houses are built better than they used to be. With better insulation, more precisely made doors and windows and better construction methods in general, homes have less leaks than they did 20-30 years ago. That's great for your energy bills, but leaves any trace of CO trapped in your home.

If you brew in a basement, garage or any enclosed or even semi-enclosed area, a detector is a must. It's damn cheap insurance, especially now that they are much more accurate today than they were just five years ago.

And a big word of advice. Make sure and get a detector with a battery back up. There are a couple of cheap models still on the market that only run on the AC in your house. If you have a power outage, those detectors are rendered useless.

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Old 01-29-2008, 05:53 PM   #20
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Dec 2007
Oconomowoc, Wisconsin
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Could someone more knowledgeable than I recommend a good place to purchase a CO monitor. Are they a dime a dozen, or are there better and worse models out there? Is this a HD or Lowe's run, or should I be ordering online?


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