One hears an awful lot about both carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide in the media, but what’s the difference between the two? They sound like they’re almost the exact same thing, so are they? The truth is that they couldn’t be more different.

Carbon dioxide is, for the most part, the byproduct of normal biological processes. For example, when you breath in air, your body processes the oxygen and then creates the carbon dioxide as a byproduct. As you might imagine, with so many people and animals breathing all around the world, there’s a lot of carbon dioxide present in the natural environment. You would be correct. As it happens, carbon dioxide is a vital cog in the great chemical machine that keeps our world lush and green. That being said, it is not entirely benign. When present at high enough levels, it can be harmful to humans and animals alike. Even worse, many scientists believe that its increased presence in our atmosphere is having a detrimental effect on the climate.

Although made of carbon and oxygen just like carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide is very different. It is the chemical byproduct produced by the incomplete combustion of carbon-based substances. Although carbon monoxide is a part of the natural environment (usually as ground-level O-zone), it is not nearly to the extent that carbon dioxide is. In fact, carbon monoxide is entirely poisonous to animal life at high-enough levels. Its poisonous effect is caused by the way that it simulates and replaces normal oxygen in the blood stream, causing serious health issues and even death. That’s why you should take carbon monoxide seriously by installing one of Crossfire’s top-of-the-line CO detectors in your home today.

For more on keeping safe from carbon monoxide, take a look at our carbon monoxide detectors over at Crossfire Alarms.