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 equipmentCarbon 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 homesIn 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 detectorsTo 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.