Posted August 8th, 2014 by SimpliSafe
You’ve heard carbon monoxide’s nickname “The Silent Killer”. You know it’s dangerous to you and your family. But how much do you know about what carbon monoxide is and what it can do? How do you prevent carbon monoxide poisoning? We’re here to help. Here is your beginner's guide to carbon monoxide, or CO, and carbon monoxide detectors. Stay in the know about carbon monoxide and its harmful effects, and you can make sure you are keeping your home and family safe.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless and colorless gas. It is one carbon molecule bonded with an oxygen molecule. Together, they form a toxic gas that is difficult for humans to detect. It’s impossible to smell, see or taste, and consequently can cause great harm before you ever know that its there. Carbon monoxide can come from non-vented gas space heaters, generators, improperly ventilated chimneys, furnaces or wood stoves, as well as kerosene heaters, automobiles and boilers. Essentially, carbon monoxide may become prevalent in your home from incomplete combustion in any fuel-based device. The most common cause of carbon monoxide poisoning is a vehicle.
Carbon monoxide can affect people differently depending on their health, size and age. In low concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause fatigue or dizziness. If you have heart disease, carbon monoxide can create chest pain. Low concentrations, 1 to 70 ppm (parts per million) will have a far greater effect on children than adults. At a moderate concentration, 70 to 150 ppm, carbon monoxide can cause nausea, headaches, and even flu like symptoms. At this level, it can also impair your vision and brain function. At high concentrations, 150 to 200 ppm, carbon monoxide can be fatal.
You can take steps to ensure that your home is safe and reduce the likelihood of carbon monoxide poisoning. The first step is to be aware of your appliances. Many such as water heaters and stoves, have ventilation to the outside. However, if this passage is blocked, the carbon monoxide may build up and a leak into your home.Perform regular inspections and maintenance to make sure they are in working order. You can hire professionals to inspect this equipment for you, or learn what to look for and do it yourself. Make sure to clean the unit regularly, and attend to any leaks immediately. When operating and installing these appliances, make sure to follow the instructions thoroughly. Proper understanding and knowledge of this equipment is important to your safety. If your equipment is not properly ventilated, you may want to replace this unit or install an exhaust fan in the area. If you must store gas, make sure to keep it away from children and store small quantities.
Most importantly, only operate such equipment in a well ventilated area. Make sure to never block the ventilation process. Never operate a grill, generator or fuel burning heater in an enclosed space. Importantly, never cover such a fuel burning appliance, like a grill. Placing a tarp or tin foil over the source will have a similar effect to placing it in an enclosed room, and will create a buildup of carbon monoxide. Never leave a vehicle idling in a closed garage.
A carbon monoxide detector is an important tool to make sure that you and your family are alerted. As carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, a carbon monoxide detector is often the only way that CO is sensed at all. Importantly, a carbon monoxide sensor is different than a smoke detector. They are not interchangeable. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are critical life saving devices, and perform unique functions, so it is important to have both in your home.
Carbon Monoxide sensors should be placed at least 5 feet off the floor and can be mounted on the ceiling. It’s best to place a carbon monoxide sensor near each sleeping area and living area. Make sure that you will be able to hear the carbon monoxide detector from the bedroom and that the siren will wake you. As carbon monoxide can affect children faster than it may affect an adult, make sure to place detectors near a child’s room. Do not place carbon monoxide detectors within 15 feet of a furnace, or other fuel burning piece of equipment. With a SimpliSafe system, you can have your carbon monoxide detectors are part of your monitored security system. This way, if you have an emergency situation, the fire department will be on their way and make sure everyone is safe!
Now that you know about carbon monoxide, you can make sure that your home and family are properly protected. You can rest easy knowing that even though you can’t see carbon monoxide, you know it’s not in your home.