Do I need a carbon monoxide detector in my home?

Since carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, installing a detector in your home is a safe bet.

Having a carbon monoxide detector in your home might not only make sense, it could also be a city or state law depending on where you live. Since, unlike smoke, which you can detect if you’re awake, carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless, you’re unlikely to be woken up by a leak in your home. Carbon monoxide can leak from any source that uses fossil fuels to create heat. This can include installed ovens, boilers, water heaters and fireplaces. Some portable heaters use fossil fuels and may require adequate ventilation and the installation of a carbon monoxide detector.

Battery-operated carbon monoxide detectors can be placed almost anywhere.

These detectors are not expensive and can be readily purchased at hardware stores. You can even find a smoke/carbon monoxide detector combo. Having both makes sense for your health and safety and for anyone who lives with you. When installing the detector, you must ensure that one is installed within 4.57 m of the entrance to any room. If you have a large or multi-level home, you should plan for multi-level installation.

Natural gas and other fuel-burning appliances can pose a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

It also makes sense to have any heat sources, such as gas ovens or water heaters, checked annually by your local power company. This is typically a free service, along with pilot re-ignition, offered by local power and gas companies. Plan to do this about a month before you need to use the heater; this can vary depending on where you live. You can also make an appointment at least a month in advance, because you may have to wait several weeks to a month for someone to check these levels, unless you believe there is currently a carbon monoxide leak. This last situation is an emergency situation and should be checked immediately by the local gas or power company or fire department.

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Detectors can warn of carbon monoxide leaks caused by sources such as gas stoves.

Many people wonder what to do if the carbon monoxide detector goes off. This is an excellent question. If you notice symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, extreme headache, dizziness, or illness, leave immediately. If you live in an apartment that shares boiler heating, you can alert others to the suspected leak when you vacate the building. Call 911 when you are outdoors. If for some reason you can’t go out right away, open all the windows in your home and try to stay near an open window and get some fresh air. In either case, call emergency services to immediately check this potentially deadly leak.

The feeling of disorientation can occur as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Where there are no laws in a city or state that require the installation of a carbon monoxide detector, it is still safer to have one. Consider using one in any home with heating that burns fossil fuels, in any apartment, condominium or dorm room that uses boilers or gas heating, and basically in any home. It is tremendously tragic when people die from carbon monoxide poisoning, but it is a tragedy that you can avoid by purchasing a carbon monoxide detector and installing it as instructed.

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