The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

carbon monoxide alarm

Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is deadly. You can’t see or smell it, but it kills around 200 people every year in the United States, according to the Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC). An additional 5,000 people sustain non-fatal CO-related injuries. Carbon monoxide detectors save lives because they detect the gas at low concentrations, before it reaches critical levels.

Carbon monoxide detector installation is important for several reasons, including:

There Are Many Sources of CO Around the Home

An automobile left on in the garage can cause carbon monoxide to fill your home. CO also comes from charcoal grills, fireplaces, and woodstoves. The burning of coal, kerosene, and wood or wood pellets can release this dangerous gas. Fuel fired furnaces, gas dryers, gas stoves, and gas water heaters can pose hazards to occupants of your home too.

Backup generators, even if placed outside, can generate fumes that can get through doorways, windows, and cracks in the walls. Carbon monoxide fumes may even get through dryer vents or into your air conditioning ductwork. If you live in a building, CO in the basement, storage closet, or laundry room can infiltrate apartments, so it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector whether you live in a house or apartment building.

Symptoms of CO Poisoning Can Be Confused with Other Problems

In low to moderate concentrations, CO poisoning may mimic the flu. There may be no symptoms in concentrations under 10%. As the amount of CO increases, you may have a headache, fatigue, or shortness of breath, as well as nausea and dizziness. Unlike the flu, you will not have a fever.

High levels of exposure can trigger CO poisoning in just a minute or two, and death within 25 to 30 minutes. The symptoms vary with gas concentrations and can be mistaken or misdiagnosed for other illnesses. It’s therefore important to have a CO detector to let you know there’s a reason for feeling that way.

Very high CO levels can cause confusion, vomiting, loss of muscular coordination, and loss of consciousness prior to death.

How to Respond to Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The best carbon monoxide detectors can go off for many reasons. If one sounds and anyone in your household feels sick, evacuate immediately and call 911. Fresh air can help but medical care is required to treat the symptoms.

On the other hand, if the alarm goes off and everyone is okay, there’s less likelihood of serious exposure. Turn off any gas burning appliances and ventilate the room. Try to reset the alarm. If it won’t reset or keeps sounding, contact a heating and ventilation service contractor to inspect your home.

Where to Install a CO Detector

A CO detector/alarm should be placed in the hallway, outside every sleeping area. It should be visible, so make sure not to cover it with draperies or furniture. The CPSC suggests having at least one detector on each sleeping floor and one where there are major gas burning appliances, but not within five feet of them. Any CO detector should be high up near the ceiling for maximum effectiveness.

Call Our Los Angeles Electrician for Help

Express Electrical Services is familiar with many types of CO detectors. Customers throughout Southern California depend on us for electrical repairs, rewiring, installation, and smoke and carbon monoxide detector installation. Serving Los Angeles, Orange County, and Riverside County, we keep homes and families safe during emergencies. For service by the best electrician in the region, call or request service online today!

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