Carbon monoxide (CO), often referred to as the Silent Killer, is a poisonous, odorless, colorless gas. A byproduct of combustion of fuels such as gasoline, kerosene, natural gas, propane, oil and wood, CO is estimated to be the cause of more than 500 deaths per year in the United States and reason for more than 15,000 emergency room visits by those suffering its effects. Because the symptoms of CO exposure typically mimic those of common flu, e.g., headache, nausea, fatigue, cough and labored breathing, the condition is frequently misdiagnosed. A first-line defense in preventing carbon monoxide exposure is proper placement of working CO detectors throughout your home.
Just as important as the early-warning protection offered by CO detectors in your home, however, is the undertaking of certain preventive measures to ensure that your living area is kept free from this toxic substance. Since all gas, oil and propane appliances produce CO as a byproduct of combustion, it’s critical to make sure all your fuel-burning equipment is properly installed, correctly vented and regularly maintained by a qualified appliance-maintenance specialist. Also, CO-producing machines such as automobiles, lawnmowers, gas-powered garden equipment, barbecues and generators should never be operated within confined spaces.
Just as smoke detector installation has become commonplace in most residences because of their life-saving capabilities, installation of CO detectors has also become much more prevalent. Experts recommend homeowners install a CO detector on each level of their home, including a unit within 15 feet of each sleeping area. Since CO is heavier than air, these detectors should be installed low, near floor level. Battery-powered units are best because they continue to operate even during power outages, assuming the batteries are charged. Batteries should be checked twice a year and, if you opt for a unit that runs off house current, it should definitely have a battery backup.
Those living in or around the Grand Traverse County area of Northern Michigan can feel free to contact us at Team Bob’s Heating Cooling Plumbing for further tips to ensure protection from carbon monoxide or anything else related to home comfort/safety. We can help.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Traverse City, Michigan and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO detectors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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