Carbon monoxide is a silent killer with an average of 430 victims per year according to CDC statistics. It is odorless, colorless, tasteless and virtually impossible for a person to detect until it’s too late. Typical carbon monoxide poisoning occurs as a slow buildup while a person is asleep, and even people who are awake may slip into unconsciousness before they realize what’s happening. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in any enclosed space, so the only way to avoid it is to install carbon monoxide detectors to provide early warnings of any danger.
Where Carbon Monoxide Comes From
Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of burning fuel. Common sources include a car, lawnmower or boat left running in a garage, next to an open window, or under an HVAC intake vent. Carbon monoxide can also be released by grills, fireplaces, stoves, furnaces or other gas appliances. While most consumer appliances are designed to trap or vent carbon monoxide outside, an undetected malfunction and a home that is tightly sealed for energy efficiency can be a deadly combination.
How a Carbon Monoxide Detector Works
When carbon monoxide goes into a carbon monoxide detector, it triggers a chemical reaction that sets off an alarm. This is very similar to how smoke detectors work, and many alarms provide both smoke and carbon monoxide detection. The chemical reaction is triggered at levels far below what it takes to harm a person, so sensors properly spaced throughout a home virtually eliminate the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
Warning: Always take immediate action if a carbon monoxide alarm goes off because carbon monoxide levels may be rapidly rising. Get everyone outside and have trained professionals investigate the cause.
How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
There are two key steps to preventing carbon monoxide poisoning. The first is to take common sense steps such as not idling a car inside of a garage, not grilling next to open windows and having regular preventive maintenance performed on your gas appliances. The second is to install your carbon monoxide detectors. The general rule is one outside of each bedroom and at least one on each floor of your home, but you should get professional help placing them because your needs may vary based on your home’s airflow and layout.
For professional assistance in keeping your family safe and secure, schedule an appointment with Cox Air.