Carbon Monoxide Detectors Are a Must for Tightly Sealed, Energy Efficient Homes

Whenever combustible equipment operates in the home, carbon monoxide detectors should be a critical part of a homeowner’s safety plan.

But other reasons to use carbon monoxide (CO) detectors exist, and they’re a must for tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes.

Running fuel-burning equipment

Carbon monoxide is released whenever equipment powered by fuel starts up. Equipment that runs on natural gas, propane, oil or even wood emits CO during the combustion process. Most systems take the production of CO into account, with an ultra-safe venting system designed to usher carbon monoxide out of the home.

However, furnaces, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces and water heaters — equipment that burns fuel and releases CO into venting systems — can fail. Having carbon monoxide detectors in place assures that you and your loved ones will be alerted to dangerously high levels of CO should the equipment malfunction.

Aside from using detectors, scheduling annual preventive maintenance ensures that your water heater, fireplace, furnace and other fuel-burning systems are operating safely. The service includes an evaluation of the combustion process and the venting system too.

Airtight homes

In the past, leaky homes were the standard, which allowed for proper home ventilation and indoor air quality, even as it resulted in wasted energy. Today, however, the new standard is for tightly sealed, energy-efficient homes, greatly lowering the average home’s energy consumption. An airtight home, however, also means that if CO is released into the home, it has nowhere to go.

Installing detectors

To ensure maximum effectiveness from carbon monoxide detectors, follow these guidelines for placement:

  • Install at least one detector on each floor of the home.
  • Avoid placing a detector close to combustible equipment. If there’s one installed closer than 15 feet, it will likely read the minute levels of CO released upon start-up. Multiple false readings may desensitize you and your family to the alarm.
  • Locate devices high up on walls so that they’ll read CO that’s released alongside warm air, which will rise to the top of a room.

Apollo Home Heating, Cooling and Plumbing has served homeowners in greater Cincinnati since 1910. Contact us today for more information about carbon monoxide detectors.

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"We scheduled an estimate AND a tune-up. We knew something was wrong with our furnace, but hoped we could make it through the rest of the season. Upon telling Bill what our furnace was doing, he warned us immediately what the possible outcome was going to be; a cracked heat exchanger. He watched the flames roll backward, tested carbon monoxide levels, which were so high they meter’s last reading was 5,600 before saying “high”. He immediately shut it down, tagged it, and explained that with levels that high and children in our home he wanted off right away. He continued his inspection and showed us via a camera that not only was it cracked in multiple places, but had holes all over it. He gave us a few options for repairing it; his knowledge as well as genuine concern was beneficial and refreshing. Luckily we also scheduled an estimator, Micah, to come too and we were able to get costs between repairing and replacing (with several options). We decided to replace with a much higher efficiency furnace and one sized properly to our home. Hands down, not only did they both provide us great service and knowledge, but without sounding dramatic, they may have saved our lives. This was our first time calling Apollo, but it won’t be our last."
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