Home Carbon Monoxide Detectors - A Life-Saving Device



Do you need a carbon monoxide detector in your home?  The answer is a definite YES!  Carbon Monoxide is a silent killer.  According to the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), carbon monoxide is the number one cause of poisoning deaths in the United States.  Without the sound of the detector’s alarm going off, your family will never know that this gas has taken over your home.  Entire families are killed this way every year.  Do not let your family be one of them!


Carbon Monoxide is a gas that is odorless and colorless.  This lethal gas can build up in your home without you ever knowing it.  Exposure to low concentrations of carbon monoxide over several hours can be as dangerous as exposure to a high level for a few minutes.  Your detector should be able to detect both conditions.


The symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure are as follows: headache, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, sleepiness, confusion, blurred vision, chest tightness, shortness of breath, loss of muscle control and finally loss of consciousness.  Carbon monoxide poisoning has sometimes been confused with flu-like symptoms.  Make sure that all family members are aware of these symptoms along with babysitters and other caregivers in your home. Your family should be reminded of these symptoms when they are sleeping away from home.


The Alarm Will Sound to Let You Know There are Dangerous Levels in Your Home. The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has some basic guidelines to follow in order to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.  They advise that a battery operated carbon monoxide detector be installed in your home.  The battery should be changed each spring and fall when the clocks are changed in order to insure that the alarm will work if carbon monoxide is present at dangerous levels in your home.  If the alarm goes off, your home should be evacuated immediately.  Call 911 from outside the home or have a neighbor call for you.


Some common sources of carbon monoxide are; fireplaces, oil and gas furnaces, motor vehicles, space heater, generators, stoves, gas water heaters and dryers with clogged ductwork.  Be sure to have your heating system, water heater and all oil or coal burning appliances serviced by a qualified technician every year.  Never use generators, charcoal grills, camp stoves or any other gasoline or charcoal burning device inside your home.  Make sure that you do not run a truck or car inside a garage attached to your home.


It would be wise to not only install one carbon monoxide detector in your home but to install one in the hallway near every separate sleeping area of the home.  Make sure that they are fully exposed and not covered by any furniture.  In general, carbon monoxide detectors should be placed near the ceiling for the most effective use.  Always read the manufactures installation instructions for proper placement of a carbon monoxide detector within a given area in your home.  There are carbon monoxide detectors with a special light feature if someone in your family is hard of hearing.  During an emergency, a light flashes as the alarm sounds.  There are also talking combination alarms available that vocally indicate whether the threat is from carbon monoxide gas or smoke.  Also available are detectors that may be wired-in to the electrical system or plugged into the electrical sockets of your home.


It is recommended by the Consumer Products Safety Commission that consumers purchase and install carbon monoxide detectors with labels showing that they meet the requirement of the Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) voluntary standard (UL 2034).  The UL standard requires that detectors sound an alarm when carbon monoxide reaches potentially hazardous levels over a period of time.  The CPSC believes that are as important to house safety as smoke alarms. Remember, you can’t hide from this lethal gas.  Put the proper precautions in place before carbon monoxide finds you.  Make sure your family knows the symptoms.  Have all appliances in your home serviced by qualified technicians and last but not least make sure that you have a Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) certified Carbon Monoxide Detector properly installed in your home.


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