Where there’s smoke, there’s often fire, but where there’s carbon monoxide, there are no visible signs of trouble. That’s why it’s imperative that your carbon monoxide detectors be in working order — all the time.
First, make sure your detectors are plugged in or connected to a power source. Then hit the test button to sound the alarm. If your detector is coupled with a smoke detector, also regularly check the batteries. After a few months, batteries lose their power.
Your carbon monoxide detectors must also be in the right places. You should have a detector on every level of your home, as well as in the basement and in any attached garage. Have an alarm no farther than 10 feet away from the adults’ bedroom so that it can be heard, and the family can be safely evacuated.
Stoves, dryers, gas furnaces, water heaters and space heaters all emit low levels of carbon monoxide that usually dissipate quickly. A CO detector that’s less than 15 feet away from any of these appliances will go off frequently. Once you become desensitized to the alarm, you might ignore it when there’s a real CO threat. Make sure you place any detector farther away from these appliances.
Carbon monoxide detectors can literally save lives; malfunctioning or nonexistent detectors cost lives. In fact, the International Association of Fire Chiefs says that about 500 people a year die from CO poisoning. Many people mistake the early signs of poisoning — dizziness, headache, fatigue and nausea — for the flu.
By this point, it is sometimes too late. Severe overexposure to carbon monoxide can result in loss of muscular coordination and mental capacity, vomiting, chest pain and unconsciousness.
Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to go off – and shrilly – before dangerous levels of CO infiltrate your home. It’s vital that they remain in working order, so if you’re in doubt about yours, call Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We take pride in keeping Cincinnati-area homeowners safe and sound.
Image via Shutterstock.com