Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Carbon Monoxide, or CO, is a gas that is produced as a byproduct of the combustion process by fuel burning appliances such as furnaces, wood-burning stoves, water heaters and more. Usually, the amount of CO these appliances produce is too little to be harmful. However, if the appliance is working incorrectly, it could produce a larger amount of the gas, which can result in Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Since CO is a gas that is odorless, colorless and tasteless, you will not be able to detect if there is too much CO in your home’s air. This is why having carbon monoxide detectors installed in your home is absolutely necessary.
Purchasing Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There are a few different options when it comes to purchasing CO detectors for your home. As far as power goes, you can buy detectors that are hardwired into your home’s current or battery powered. If you purchase a hardwired model, then make sure it takes batteries as a backup power source. If you were ever to lose power in your home, you will want to make sure your CO detectors are still functioning. You should also look for the Underwriter’s Laboratory label, which is basically a seal of approval that guarantees the quality of the detector. Some detectors come with additional features such as voice alarms and flashing light alarms.
Installing Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The best place to install CO detectors is on the ceiling or the walls. You should have at least one installed on each floor of your home. Because of the fact that CO gas is so dangerous, make sure you have a detector installed outside of your bedrooms. This way, if you are asleep, you will absolutely wake up if the alarm goes off.
There are a few places where you should not install your CO detectors. Avoid placing them near any windows. The airflow and any possible drafts by a window will cause the CO detector to take a lower reading than what the actual level of CO in your home is. You should also avoid installing them near any of your fuel-burning appliances. Although these appliances produce only a small, harmless amount of CO, they can still trigger the alarm. Make sure that you read the manufacturer’s instructions before installing your CO detectors.
Maintaining Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The best time of the year to check your CO detectors is before the winter season, since this is the time of the year that you will be making the most use out of your fuel-burning appliances. All detectors have a test button that you should make use of. You can also light an incense stick near a CO detector to make sure that the levels read the increase of CO in the air and that the alarm will go off. Make sure that you have fresh batteries put in as well.
What to Do If Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off
Increase the ventilation in your house by immediately opening up all doors and windows. Then you need to check everyone in the house for symptoms. Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning include: headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea and irregular breathing. If anyone has any of these symptoms, then you should get everyone outside and call the fire department. If no one in your home has these symptoms, then turn off all of your fuel burning appliances and open up all the doors and windows in your home in order to increase ventilation. Doing so can help dissipate the gas and lower the CO levels in your home. Once you have done that, call a local technician to come inspect your fuel-burning appliances.
Carbon monoxide can be an extremely dangerous gas if you are exposed to it at high levels. Make sure you have carbon monoxide detectors installed properly throughout your home in order to protect both you and your family.