Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon monoxide detectors are to detect carbon monoxide or “CO” in your home. Carbon monoxide is a common by product of incomplete combustion when petroleum products are burned.
Most household equipment is safe when operated properly. It becomes deadly when something goes wrong.
Depending upon the concentration of carbon monoxide, you could die in just minutes. One of the major symptoms is confusion. This can leave you unable to understand that your life is in danger.
How many people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning?
This was a really difficult statistic to uncover.
- I found the Center for Disease Control reported 300 deaths last year.
- Right along side articles of 24 deaths in a housing project;
- 6 die in house fire; and
- an article from the Childrens Hospital in Boston quoting The Journal of the American Medical Association that they report 1,500 deaths with 10,000 injuries each year from carbon monoxide exposure.
THE BOTTOM LINE HERE IS THAT TOO MANY PEOPLE ARE DYING!
What are the sources of carbon monoxide in your home?
- gas heating system;
- gas water heaters;
- gas stoves;
- automobiles in the attached garage;
- grills brought inside during poor weather;
- kerosene heaters;
- ventless gas fireplaces; and
- gas dryers with clogged ductwork.
REMEMBER, THIS IS AN ODORLESS, TASTELESS GAS.
Pay attention to the symptoms.
- The initial symptoms are similar to the flu. They include a headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and dizziness.
- As the concentration gets higher, the symptoms become more severe.
- When the headache becomes more intense, you may have trouble with your hearing and your vision will become blurred.
- At high levels, you can slip into a coma within a few minutes and die.
- AT THE FIRST SYMPTOMS, GET OUT OF THE HOUSE AND INTO FRESH AIR.
- MAKE SURE THERE IS NO ONE LEFT BEHIND DURING YOUR EXIT.
- IF POSSIBLE, OPEN A WINDOW OR SEVERAL DURING YOUR EXIT.
- HAVE A PROFESSIONAL FIND THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM.
How to choose a carbon monoxide detector?
The product choices range from battery powered to electrical outlet powered with three different types of detectors.
Which is best for you? The live powered are a good idea. However, I am not a proponent of house voltage models without a battery back up. If the power goes out and the furnace is still working there could be a major problem very quickly.
I also am not in favor of a detector being located where children can get to it or it can become unplugged to power another device and forgotten to be plugged back in when finished.
Carbon monoxide detectors that are hard wired to a ceiling mount and have a battery back up are my preference.
I also look for one that has a digital display showing the highest level of concentration over a certain time period. This feature is helpful in determining the severity of the problem.
Make sure you are buying the most recent carbon monoxide detector available.
Open the package and locate the date of manufacture. Technology improves all the time, so buy the most recent revision.
Also, if there is a hearing impaired person in your household, get one with a bright light as well as the loudest one available.
Each home needs at least one near any combustible source.
Another helpful tip: If your home has a stand alone Heating/Air Conditioning package outside in the yard and the heat source is gas, look at your outside unit.
There are several slots or vents where the hot air exits from the fire. Look for black sooty deposits. This is an example of incomplete combustion.
The problem could range from spider webs in the furnace section to improperly adjusted gas jets to a cracked heat exchanger (which is serious).
A cracked heat exchanger will introduce carbon monoxide into the home. It you find the black sooty deposits, have the unit checked by a certified technician.
REMEMBER THAT CARBON MONOXIDE IS ODORLESS AND TASTELESS AND CAN KILL VERY QUICKLY!
GET A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR AND USE IT!!!