Carbon monoxide (CO)
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and toxic gas. Because it is impossible to see, taste or smell the toxic fumes, CO can kill you before you are aware it is in your home. At lower levels of exposure, CO causes mild effects that are often mistaken for the flu. These symptoms include headaches, dizziness, disorientation, nausea and fatigue. The effects of CO exposure can vary greatly from person to person depending on age, overall health and the concentration and length of exposure.
National Air Quality Week
Carbon Monoxide detection provides local family with security
On her Facebook page that day, Lixy Alcorta posted, “everyone should get a carbon monoxide detector. I feel like it saved our lives today.” She and her two young children were just returning from church when she heard an alarm going off inside her home. The alarm said ‘Danger, Carbon Monoxide.’ “We were about to put the kids down for a nap, if we hadn’t heard the alarm going off…I can’t even imagine.”
Carbon monoxide detection
Carbon monoxide protection
What can you do to protect you and your family from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning?
- Buy a carbon monoxide detector (see information below before purchasing).
- Never use un-vented combustion appliances indoors.
- Regularly have your combustion appliances inspected by a trained professional. Such inspectors should look for blocked openings to flues and chimneys; cracked or disconnected flue pipe; signs of soot around openings in your furnace or boiler; rust or cracks in the heat exchanger; soot or creosote build-up; and exhaust or gas odors.
- Make sure combustion equipment is installed correctly and used only for intended purpose.
General points to consider before buying a CO alarm:
- Some inexpensive alarms consist of a card with a spot (“spot” detectors) that changes color in the presence of CO. The absence of an audible signal does not meet UL or IAS requirements for alarms; these devices do not provide adequate warning of CO.
- CO alarms are a backup (not a replacement) for regular heater maintenance!
- Battery-operated alarms are portable and will function during a power failure, which is when emergency heating might be used. Batteries must be replaced, although some alarms have long-life batteries that will last up to five years.
- Line-powered alarms (110 volt) require electrical outlets, but do not need batteries. They will not function during a power failure. Some line-powered alarms have battery backups.
- Alarms with memories can help document and correct CO problems.