Carbon monoxide, or CO, has a well-deserved moniker: the silent killer. That’s because this gas, which is the byproduct of combustion, is essentially undetectable to our senses. Aside from being invisible, carbon monoxide is also odourless and tasteless. To make things worse, carbon monoxide is highly toxic to humans and animals, often causing deaths when encountered in higher concentrations.
The thing is, carbon monoxide poisoning is a very real danger within our own homes, especially during the cold months of winter. Since we have household appliances that burn fuel such as wood stoves, gas heaters, and kerosene space heaters, it is very likely for a home to be replete with carbon monoxide in the air, without the home owner knowing it. Carbon monoxide also comes out of car exhaust, adding to the risk.
Installing CO detectors
This is the very reason why carbon monoxide detection at home is important. By installing CO detectors at home, you will know that the levels of CO inside your home are rising, giving you and your family time to get out of there before anyone gets hurt.
CO detectors are much like fire alarms. When concentrations of carbon monoxide inside your home get too high, it emits a high-pitched tone as a warning. For the CO detectors to adequately cover your entire home, we recommend installing CO detectors in strategic parts of the house, particularly in a hallway, high on the wall or near the floor.
Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning
Then again, we shouldn’t be too dependent on CO detectors to know that carbon monoxide levels in your indoor air are getting lethal. If you suddenly feel sick for no apparent reason, you could be experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, at which point everyone in your household should evacuate the house immediately. Some of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include:
- Impaired vision
- Confusion and fainting
Preventing carbon monoxide build-up at home
As the old cliché goes, an ounce of prevention will always be better than a pound of cure. As long as you take measures minimizing or totally preventing carbon monoxide build-up at home, you are assured that you and your family will stay safe. Here are some ways of preventing carbon monoxide build-up at home.
- If you have a wood stove, make sure that it has tight-fitting doors. More importantly, your wood stove should meet all the emission standards set by the EPA.
- Avoid using a barbecue or using a charcoal-fired grill inside the house. Either should be done only in your lawn or backyard.
- In the event of a power outage and you crank up your generator, make sure it’s far enough from the house so that the exhaust won’t get into your lungs. Your generator should also be only used in an open area.
- Always makes sure that you kill the engine of your car when you park it inside the garage. Far too many carbon monoxide poisoning incidents have occurred this way, with someone forgetting to shut the motor with the garage door down.
- Never use other types of fuel for a kerosene heater. It runs on kerosene, and should only ever use kerosene.
- All gas stoves should have vents leading outdoors and should be properly adjusted.
- Your furnace, ventilation system, boiler, chimney flue and other combustible devices in your home should be thoroughly checked by a professional heating installer.
If you need help with the last one or with carbon monoxide detection at home in general, you can depend on us. One call from you and we’ll send professionals to assess your home and make sure that your home has a reduced risk for carbon monoxide build-up.