Acceptable CO output limit for oven>

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Old 07-23-12, 07:46 AM
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Acceptable CO output limit for oven>

Hello,

I'm participating in my city's energy efficiency program. One of the things they do is test CO output for appliances and equipment. I was told to stop using my oven after it measured 7500 ppm CO after the oven had been on for a couple of minutes, dropping off to 475 ppm CO after around 5 minutes.

Apparently, levels over 8,000 can kill you. Luckily, I haven't dropped dead yet from using my oven, and always use my exhaust whenever I do turn it on (perhaps this has been helping).

I called my appliance repairman (we use him for a lot of the repairs in our rental units), and he told me that all ovens operate this way to one extent or another, and so I shouldn't worry. He also referred me to this bulletinboard thread. I've done research elsewhere on the web, mainly in bulletinboards used by gas and appliance technicians. My takeaway from the reading I did there is that there is no real concensus, even among professionals, as to whether the CO emissions that come out of a stove are safe for indoor use, especially in homes that are insulated well for energy savings.

I also saw some numbers bandied about as to acceptable CO levels that your oven could put out into your kitchen in the first few minutes that it runs. The highest number I saw mention was 2400 ppm. As I said above, my oven was measured at 7500 ppm.

My repair guy doesn't feel confident that there is anything he could do to improve the oven's start-up CO levels - I'm thinking a good cleaning by myself may help some. But if I go through the effort of either having him come in and tune it up, or cleaning it myself, is there an acceptable start-up CO level above which my oven should not go, so I'll know what I should be shooting for and whether or not we'll need a new oven?

Thanks,
Laura
 
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Old 07-24-12, 07:00 AM
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Hello Laura and Welcome to the Do It Yourself Web Site and the Gas Appliances topic.

EXCELLENT QUESTION... To which there is no specific answer, unfortunately...

Much of what you have been told is correct. And it is correct there is no set limit to the amount of Carbon Monoxides an oven can produce at startup. Nor any consensus as to what is acceptable because the tolerances are broad.

Once the final amount is determined, after a 10 to 15 minutes of warm up time is reached, that number or span of numbers (Range) must be below the upper limits. The range of C.O. limits vary widely and change during operation and testing. All making it more difficult to determine a final st limit.

If the burner is burning all blue and the flame size is correct, that's about all that can be done. Cleaning helps a lot to reduce the limits. Clean interior yourself and all will be okay. I have done hundreds of C.O. testings during many years working for a major natural gas utility. No one I am aware of has ever died baking or broiling anything....

Oh By The Way. 475 PPM is a low number after just 5 minutes. So rest easy. All is well...

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Old 07-24-12, 07:31 PM
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Thumbs up Thank you!

Thanks a bunch for your response - that really helps to clarify things for me, at least as well as they can be clarified. I plan on giving the oven a thorough nooks-and-crannies cleaning, and hopefully that should help lower the levels. Much appreciated! Laura
 
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Old 07-24-12, 07:38 PM
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And just a note....if you have a range hood with exhaust fan....the initial levels are pretty moot.

Who cares what it puts out if it's being blown out the vent?
 
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Old 07-24-12, 07:51 PM
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Oven exhaust fan

My exhaust fan is nothing fancy - just a hole in the ceiling with a fan in it, so I'm not sure how much air it's moving. But . . . I use it anyway, since I'm sure it's getting some fumes out. Another reason I know my oven needs a cleaning - though I keep it relatively clean and wiped out inside the oven, whenever I first turn it on my lungs don't like it, and sometimes my eyes water a bit. So I know there's hidden soot somewhere that I don't access during my periodic wipe-downs.

Laura
 
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Old 07-25-12, 06:09 AM
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Hi: Laura

What is far more amazing is the amount of carbon monoxides inhaled as we walk through a parking lot in any shopping center or walking along a sidewalk next to a road and similar areas. Never given a thought about that. Our interior houses have far less pollution then many outside areas.

The reason why ovens and stove top burners are allowed to have higher levels of C.O. is because they are manually operated and not remote. In other words, visible during operation and only in use while we are there using the appliance. Not the same as a water heater or furnace heating appliance which are remotely and automatically operated and not in plain sight.

Acceptable levels of C.O. during operation are almost solely based upon the above as long as all other operations of the appliance are working normally. Reminder. No one anyone one of us ever knew or knows of has died baking nor broiling using a stoves oven/brolier....

 
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Old 07-25-12, 07:48 AM
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Indoor Air vs. Outdoor Air

Hmmm, I don't think it's that simple. From things I've read, there is no real concensus on what air is better - indoor or outdoor. This is the best article I've found so far to explain the particulars on why - Which is better, indoor air or outdoor air? | Indoor Air Nerd .
 

Last edited by Shadeladie; 07-25-12 at 10:20 AM.
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