The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors for Your Home Safety
All homes with fuel-burning appliances should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t have one yet, fall is a good time to install a carbon monoxide detector, prior to using your furnace. If you already have a CO detector, be sure to test it as part of your annual fall maintenance routine. Here’s why.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide, or CO, is a tasteless, odorless, invisible gas given off as a byproduct of the combustion process. CO is emitted by your gas-burning appliances such as the water heater, clothes dryer, furnace and range. Kerosene- and oil-burning appliances will also emit CO, as will a fireplace. CO also enters the home from attached garages when a vehicle is running, or charcoal-operated grills located too close to a home.
CO emissions are usually given off at such a low level by your appliances that it is not a problem. However, if one of your appliances develops a leak, the CO emissions can cause sickness and even death. Some of the symptoms of CO poisoning are nausea, headache, dizziness, confusion, weakness and vomiting. These symptoms may be mistaken for flu or other illnesses, so a CO monitor with an alarm is crucial.
CO detectors either plug in, run on batteries or are hard-wired into your home’s electric system. Test your monitor by hitting the test button. Change batteries as needed. For models with a digital readout, pass a lit candle in front of it to see if the monitor is registering. If you choose a plug-in model, remember that CO rises, and monitors need to be installed up high. Do not install a monitor near a heating vent, in the kitchen or above fuel-burning appliances.
CO monitors lose their effectiveness over time and should be replaced every five years.
At Sobieski Services Inc., our goal is to help our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey learn more about energy and home comfort issues — especially HVAC and plumbing issues — so they can save money and live in healthier, more comfortable homes.