Carbon monoxide is a known killer. While you might have a simple carbon monoxide detector plugged into a wall somewhere in your home, it’s important that you actually know what carbon monoxide is, where it comes from, and how to find the best detector for it.
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide has no smell, consistency, or visual properties at all. It can creep into your body unnoticed and replace the oxygen, which ultimately suffocates your vital organs. In most cases, people pass out during carbon monoxide poisoning
before anything very noticeable occurs. But symptoms can include headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, and chest pain. If you are in an indoor space and you begin to feel these symptoms come seemingly out of nowhere, move outside into fresh air and call 911 immediately.
Where Does It Come From?
Carbon monoxide is a relatively common gas that results from the incomplete burning of natural gas
, such as gasoline, kerosene, oil, propane, coal, or wood. If you have a gas furnace or gas-powered kitchen appliances, you should always be on the lookout for any leaks. Furnaces and appliances are the most common culprits when it comes to carbon monoxide leaks or poisoning in a home or apartment. Most modern homes and apartment buildings rely on electric heating and appliances, so you have less to worry about if you live in one of them. However, some older homes and apartments still use gas lines and appliances in the home.
Finding the Right Detector
Regardless of whether your home has gas appliances & heating or electric, increased carbon monoxide levels should still be a concern. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in your home will help ensure your air quality is constantly monitored and that you will be alerted to any changes. Even if you live in a home heated by an electric furnace and full of electric appliances, you should install a carbon monoxide detector. Leaks from gas mains can compromise your home and your family -- even if your house isn’t connected to them.
Look for detectors that plug into and are powered by wall outlets. Place these throughout your home: living room, kitchen and bedrooms. These will operate properly through their life cycle, which usually lasts between four to five years or so. If you decide to purchase and use this kind of detector, make sure it has an “end of life” alert function that will let you know when the device itself is on its last leg. Make sure you check on it from time to time just to make sure it’s working, as it should.
When your home does use a gas stove and/or furnace, installing heavier-duty carbon monoxide detectors can mean the difference between silently falling victim and getting out to safe, fresh air. This means taking extra measures to ensure your carbon monoxide detectors are high functioning and kept up-to-date. We suggest placing multiple detectors in the main rooms of the house including: the kitchen, the living room, bedrooms, and close to any gas outlets. The best detectors will have a display that can read levels of carbon monoxide in the air, have test buttons, and more.
Some carbon monoxide detectors rely on batteries to operate. These probably aren’t always your best option, since batteries do die, and you may forget to replace them. In that case, you and your family are at risk. It’s better to invest in higher quality detectors that you can count on to alert you to anything that’s amiss.
Carbon monoxide is nothing to fool around with. Don’t forgo detectors in a bid to save money or because you simply can’t be bothered. Look for detectors that fit your home and that offer easy-to-read features that will tell you about the carbon monoxide levels in the air.