Oxygen, cooking, and heating.

The optimal oxygen concentration for the body is between 19.5% and 23.5% oxygen.

About 20% of the atmosphere is made up of oxygen at sea level.
At sea level to about 300 metres, 100% of that is available.
If you are not acclimatised to working at altitude, you will generally pass out at 10%.
Altitude where 10% is? About 17100 metres.

Yet don’t be fooled.
The same effect as altitude reducing the available oxygen can be caused by chemicals or by swamping the body’s blood carrying red cells by carbon monoxide. See Post.

copoisoningOxygen levels at or below 17% your mental abilities become impaired.
When oxygen levels drop to 16 percent or below, very noticeable changes will happen.

Yawning (and Oxygen).
You could be tired (or bored) but sometimes yawning is natures way of making you breath DEEPLY to increase your oxygen levels.

So, if you start yawning with a lit fire, lantern, or when cooking, just consider why.
You may be tired, bored, or simply starved of oxygen!

Oxygen levels of under 14 % will cause extreme exhaustion from physical activity.
Below 10 % you may become very nauseous or lose consciousness.
At 5% the body concentrates on keeping the brain going and eventually your other organs will fail as they are starved of oxygen.
Before that occurs, your heart would have failed as it is working flat-out to pump what oxygen is there to the brain.
In short you die of heart failure not shortage of oxygen.

So what simple visual clues will you have that your oxygen is getting low?
Most any common materials will burn at oxygen concentrations down to approximately 14% . That’s a camp fire glowing with flames.
Fuelled Flame is different though, and THAT needs a minimum of around 5%.
So when a
candle stops burning, you’re in serious trouble.

Gas or fuelled Stoves.
Blue flame is good!
Red or yellow gas flames may be the sign of incomplete combustion, wasted gas and a serious safety hazard. With hydrocarbon flames, such as gas, the amount of oxygen supplied with the gas determines the rate of combustion, flame colour and temperature.


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6 Responses to Oxygen, cooking, and heating.

    • Bet you’re wondering why these two posts?
      We’ve just “saved” a couple who were wondering why they were feeling dizzy after cooking their evening meal. Every night for the past 6 months! One of their cooker vents was blocked and they hadn’t noticed.

      • Rifleman III says:

        Years ago I had two carbon monoxide incidents. One where the ambulance crew gave me oxygen as everything was spinning and I thought that I was going to pass out. The second incident, I was taken to the hospital, where they drew blood from between my knuckles from a vein (I felt it). The physicians confirmed from blood work that it was carbon monoxide. It was found that the diesel back-up generator to the building had a malfunction. A couple others, were hospitalized for three days.
        I had a slight edge, as I remembered as a boy, my father had a 1955 Pontiac Sky Chief, that had exhaust problems, and I would roll the window down and stick my head out for fresh air. My father would yell. Then, my younger brothers, puked up on the car mats, on the back of the front seats, and I squeezed towards the open window and.., OH!… They got me with a mix of hotdogs with sauerkraut and a jelly apple!! Decades later, the incident returned vividly, and I exited the building for fresh air.
        I can laugh about it now. Thank you, for returning the fond memories of my late father and late brothers. (I am instinctively looking at my trouser leg for puke!! )

  1. Rifleman III says:

    The Old Man, 82d Airborne on D-Day, yelling: “You son-of-a-bit*h, get back in the car! He’s jumping out without a f*cking chute! What’s that smell?! OH!! You little bastards!” 🙂

  2. equippedcat says:

    I found some cans of 95% oxygen, sold for sportsmen to oxygenate their blood for “increased performance”. Nowhere near as good as a “real” oxygen setup, but cheaper, lighter, smaller and no @#*&#Q#($*& government regulations which make it very difficult for the casual citizen to get a “real” oxygen setup unless they medically need it.

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