I'm aware that there is little risk of CO/CO2 poisoning in typical house rooms in the US, even after long periods (A few hours, maybe a day) in a particular room. How is this accomplished, and what safeguards, if any ensure that there isn't a buildup of CO/CO2 in a room just due to typical human breathing?

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    If you are building up CO due to breathing, I'd see a doctor. – Chenmunka Nov 8 '17 at 13:27
  • "How do I protect myself from Co/co2" is a lot like "how do I protect my child from drain cleaners/lead paint", these things are not related and have unrelated sources and remedies. Unless you're running an improperly vented fuel heater to stay warm, then very related. But don't do that. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 8 '17 at 15:44
  • @Chenmunka I am not building up carbon monoxide, I was just curious about what mechanisms prevent CO buildup. – Sarah Szabo Nov 8 '17 at 16:37
  • @Harper Your direct quote, is not a direct quote. If you re-read the question, it is just a simple request to know what mechanisms prevent CO/CO2 buildup from breathing. It is for pure academic/interest reasons, and I am not Trying to "protect myself". – Sarah Szabo Nov 8 '17 at 16:40
  • sorry didn't mean to put words in your mouth, was actually using a different literary technique. The point being: despite their chemical similarity and spelling closeness, they are totally unrelated in practical matters, i.e. Source. like Bangles/Bengals. Or Midway airport/Midway island airport. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Nov 8 '17 at 17:53

If there is no oil/gas/wood burning/ heating system in the near, the natural air change through house hulls is enough to prevent a dangerous concentration. If the house is built with a very air tight hull (e.g. passive houses) , a ventilation system provides the air exchange. Air exchange via fully opened window every few hours helps also to avoid high CO2/CO levels. In general, not high Carbon(di)oxide levels , but fine dust from candles/smoke or aerosols from cleaning agents/moebels etc. or asbestos from building materials used in the past (radiator wall coatings, cement flooring, pipe insulation, PVC floor or tile glue, Eternit Wall covers etc. if sawed/grinded/broken/drilled) are the biggest threat for the health.


We exhale approx 5% co2 with each breath in a sealed room with enough o2 you would start breathing faster and get a raging headache if the levels co2 level goes two high. If there is a source for co and the levels are elevated first a headache and at higher levels your blood can not exchange o2 so you go to sleep and die. Safeguards for co would to install a detector many smoke detectors now have co detectors and are required in my state. As far as co2 I have only known it to be a problem in rebreather diving your home usually has enough air flow to prevent problems, if it is a very "tight" home with no make up air crack a window open to allow some fresh air or have a fresh air intake added to the furnace. Running a bathroom exhaust fan or over the range exhaust fan sucks fresh air in the home so that could be helpful but usually movement through the home is enough.


Just open the windows daily to aerate every room, nothing compares with fresh air.

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    You apparently haven't lived in a climate with actual winter. – isherwood Nov 8 '17 at 15:16
  • You don't understand @isherwood. I live in cold climate, winters are here below 30 degrees Celsius. Why is better to open the windows even at that temperature ? Outdoor air is cleaner than indoor, nothing compares to fresh air. Fresh and cold air kills bacteria and other viruses and molds. Ventilation can control indoor humidity and airborne contaminants, both of which either contribute to or act as health hazards. spot ventilation and dilution ventilation (google it) Carbon dioxide can cause headaches and fatigue, and higher concentrations can produce nausea, dizziness, and vomiting. – Stevon Gruvel Nov 8 '17 at 21:28
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    You go right ahead and convince my wife that I should be opening our home's windows daily when it's -10F. Not only will she be numb in the extremities, our heating bills will double. :D – isherwood Nov 8 '17 at 21:50
  • A simple, inexpensive, fast, environmental-friendly and comfortable solution might be a car heating seat cover, connected to a 12V power supply from an old PC. Many people do only sit/lay/stand at no more than 5 locations during 95% of the time in their house/appartment. Cost no more than 15$ + power supply, consumes ca. 15-40Watt. Also low-noise hairdryers can warm up the bed or give the occasional "heat shower" if hot air is blown into the sleeves or under the clothes. Installed at different places at home, it delivers heat on demand at very low costs since only used for a few seconds. – xeeka Nov 9 '17 at 3:00
  • if you only open the windows for half an hour a day it wont be a problem with the heating bills. In the end maybe it's a matter of habit, I like to open the windows in the morning and before sleep time. Cold air makes me sleep better. Also you can hug more with your wife :)). And during the day @xeeka has come up with a great idea! I never thought about that, but its brilliant. – Stevon Gruvel Nov 9 '17 at 8:33

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