Most people are familiar with fire alarms and have them installed throughout their homes. However, carbon monoxide detectors tend to get looked over as they aren’t as commonly discussed. Because of this, many cities and states are now requiring their residents to have carbon monoxide detectors in their homes.
Carbon monoxide can be hazardous because you can’t see or smell it, although it could be present in your home. Because of this, it’s vital to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home or place of business.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a gas produced by gasoline, wood, propane, charcoal or another type of fuel. Poisoning can happen if there is an influx of carbon monoxide in an area that isn’t well-ventilated.
When there is an overflow of carbon monoxide in your bloodstream, it takes over the oxygen in your blood, leading to a dangerous amount of tissue damage that could eventually lead to death. Many times, people have no idea that they have been exposed to extreme carbon monoxide quantities until it’s too late.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include dizziness, headache, nausea that leads to vomiting, an inability to breathe, and confusion. If you begin to notice any of these symptoms and you’ve recently been close to a source of fuel in your home, leave your home right away.
Law Requirements in the Different States
The law requirements for having carbon monoxide detectors in your home varies depending on the state that you’re in. So far, only 27 states require the detectors: Alaska, California, Colorado, Connecticut, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Iowa, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, and Wisconsin.
These laws dictate that any enclosed room is required to have a carbon monoxide detector in it. Other states have made having carbon monoxide detectors a requirement in schools, hotels, and motels but not in private homes. Regardless, it’s important to have a carbon monoxide detector in your home.
Choosing the Right Carbon Monoxide Detector
Now that you know the importance of having a carbon monoxide detector in your home, you must choose the right one for your home or place of business. There are several options to choose from, including whether you want a combination carbon monoxide and smoke detector or just one on its own.
Installation is fairly easy and can be done without renovation work. You have the option of purchasing a carbon monoxide detector that easily plugs into your wall, is battery-enabled or can be installed directly into your ceiling.
Every single level of your home needs to have a carbon monoxide detector in it as carbon monoxide travels fast, and it may be too late by the time you try and warn your fellow housemates of it.
You also want to keep in mind that even if you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home, it may not always function. A carbon monoxide alarm has an average lifespan of 5 to 10 years, which means you have to replace the entire alarm once it has reached its lifespan.
To avoid having a faulty carbon monoxide detector, check on it every once in a while and don’t ignore any beeping or alarm sounds that may be coming from it. If you hear a noise coming from your alarm, chances are it needs some maintenance.
If you do hear beeping sounds coming from your alarm, it’s important to distinguish them. For example, four beeps and a pause could mean carbon monoxide in the air (which means you should immediately seek fresh air). A beep per minute might not be as sinister and means, for example, that the alarm has low batteries.
Try and do as much research as possible before getting a carbon monoxide detector to ensure you are getting the right one for you. If you are still unsure about which one to get, you can always read reviews to help you decide.
Preventing Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Now that you know about the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning, it’s crucial to prevent a bad carbon monoxide situation in your home from happening. You can do this by having your heating system, water heater, and any other gas, oil, or coal-burning appliances checked out by a qualified technician each year (while you’re at it, also check if you can make your home more energy efficient).
Another way to prevent a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home is by burning anything in a stove or fireplace that isn’t well-ventilated. You also never want to turn on your gas oven for anything other than to cook, and make sure that you turn it off after you’re done.
If you detect even the slightest gas scent in your home, act immediately and don’t second guess yourself. When parking your car in the garage, be sure to turn it off before shutting the garage door to prevent the fumes from building up.
Lastly, you want to make sure that you are using a generator, camp stove, or other gasoline or charcoal-burning devices like a grill either outside or near a door or an open window where it can be well-ventilated.
Carbon monoxide isn’t something to be messed with. It’s incredibly dangerous and poses a real threat to homeowners. Believe it or not, carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in America. Most of it comes from the use of gas, wood, kerosene, or another fuel as a home’s major heat source.
Despite these shocking statistics, only half of Americans have carbon monoxide detectors installed in their homes. To prevent an untimely tragedy in your home, be sure to get a carbon monoxide detector in your home as soon as possible.