Carbon Monoxide Detectors Keep Your Family Safe at All HoursPublished on: June 13, 2015
Carbon monoxide detectors are your only defense against carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, since this deadly gas has no color, taste or smell. Most people believe that CO exposure is an issue during the cooler months when homes are tightly closed. In reality, CO exposure is a year-round, around the clock problem, especially if your home uses any gas appliances or has an attached garage. It’s easy to mistake the symptoms of CO exposure for the flu, since it causes nausea, headaches and fatigue. The only way to stay safe is with working CO detectors placed correctly inside your home.
Selection and Placement
You can select from hardwired detectors or battery-operated devices, but regardless of type, they need to carry the UL label. They should be placed on a wall, but not so high that they’re difficult to access. If your budget only allows one, place it by the master bedroom and away from bathrooms, since humidity interferes with their operation. Each detector should be 15 feet away from a gas appliance to avoid false alarms. Ideally, each level of your home should have at least one detector.
CO detectors tend to exhaust batteries faster than smoke detectors, and they should be checked monthly. Hardwired detectors also rely on backup batteries that need to be tested periodically. If changing batteries on any kind of detector doesn’t activate the alarm, it may need replacing. Carbon monoxide detectors last approximately five years. It’s helpful to write the date you purchased the detector somewhere on its housing.
If you use any gas appliance, have it periodically maintained, especially a gas heating system. If you use a gas dryer or water heater, ask the HVAC technician to verify that your home’s ducts are tightly sealed, since leaking ductwork can backdraft CO and distribute it throughout your home.
For more information about carbon monoxide detectors and appliance safety, contact AirConditioningSouthEast.com to find an HVAC contractor near you.