Why are Carbon Monoxide Detectors Important?

November 5, 2015

Why are Carbon Monoxide Detectors Important?? The importance of a carbon monoxide detector is evident in the statistics: About 430 people die every year in the U.S. from carbon monoxide poisoning. Thousands more are sickened and require hospitalization. However, unlike fire or other hazards, your natural senses are no help whatsoever in protecting you from the threat of carbon monoxide (CO). This toxic gas-a byproduct of combustion in common appliances like furnaces and stoves as well as vehicle exhaust-is odorless, tasteless and invisible. Without a carbon monoxide detector, most CO poisoning victims had no warning of the imminent danger.

The difference between the level of carbon monoxide that sends you to an emergency room for treatment versus the level that causes rapid unconsciousness followed by certain death can be very small. Also, CO exposure is toxic in low levels over a extended time period or at high levels over a very short period. A carbon monoxide detector, regularly tested and maintained, is the first line of defense against this hazard.

Install it Correctly

Each level of the house needs at least one carbon monoxide detector. Every bedroom area should have a CO detector located just outside the door. Because carbon monoxide gas rises, the optimal location is on a wall about six inches below the ceiling.

Test it Regularly

Monthly, press the "test" button on the face of the detector and hold it down. When the alarm sounds, then release the button. If the alarm fails to sound, check for adequate power from the AC outlet or batteries. If restoring power doesn't resolve the issue, replace the detector.

Change The Batteries

Twice a year, install fresh batteries in a battery-powered unit. Even AC-powered detectors usually incorporate batteries for backup power. If these are becoming discharged, the detector will sound an intermittent, high-pitched alert. Replace the backup batteries immediately.

For more information on the importance of a carbon monoxide detector in your home, contact Lozier Heating & Cooling.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Des Moines, Iowa area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). Credit/Copyright Attribution: "TerryM/Shutterstock"