Do You Have A Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detector Installed in Your Home?

Homeowner Highlights

Install a Carbon Monoxide detector in your home.


Why Your Home Needs a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal or other fuel.If something goes wrong with one of your fuel-burning appliances, such as your furnace, fireplace, stove or hot-water heater, then dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can start to circulate throughout your home. You must have a Carbon Monoxide CO detector installed in your home if it contains fuel-burning appliances. If you have such appliances on more than one level of your home, you should have a carbon monoxide detector on each level.  They should be installed near bedrooms too.

Need help finding the best CO detector?

Here is a great CO Detector

The National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA) recommends four CO detectors for a typical three-bedroom, two-bath home with an attic and basement, 

Here are examples of appliances and fuel burning engines that can produce Carbon Monoxide:

  • Any oil, propane or natural gas furnace, cooking stove or range, refrigerator, hot water heater, other appliance or fireplace.
  • And Any wood or wood-burning product such as a woodstove, heat stove, fireplace, wood-pellet stove, box or parlor stove.
  • Also A running car in an attached garage.

Make sure your Carbon Monoxide Detectors are working properly

Just like smoke detectors, you must monitor your CO detector to ensure it is in working order.  So it can protect you and your family when it’s most needed.

Remember to replace the device after 5-6 years.

Check for a manufactured date stamped on the back to determine its age.

Look on the back of the CO detector for a UL symbol—for Underwriters Laboratories to ensure it has passed safety tests.

This symbol indicates that it has been tested to a widely accepted safety standard. This is a third-party testing agency and lets you know that your device is certified. Unfortunately, there are some detectors out there that haven’t had third-party testing and have failed when exposed to dangerous levels of CO, according to Consumer Reports.

Don’t forget to replace batteries as needed.

Set a time twice each year, like daylight savings, to replace your CO detectors’ batteries along with any smoke detectors in your home.  Keep in mind that you also can buy CO detectors that are hard-wired or that can be plugged in.

San Diego Carbon Monoxide Detector Requirements for Home Sellers and Homeowners

Many states have recently enacted legislation or imposed regulations that require home sellers to install carbon monoxide detectors before a home is sold. Some states also require home inspections by fire officials to make sure the devices have been installed correctly and are in working order before a home is sold.

In the state of California, the Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention Act of 2010 requires that all residential properties, not just those being sold, be equipped with a Carbon Monoxide detector when the property has a fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, and/or an attached garage. All single-family homes in structures with 1-4 units (owner or tenant occupied) should be equipped with a detector.

Carbon Monoxide: The Silent Killer

Carbon monoxide is poisonous to humans and pets so you need to take it seriously as a homeowner. Here are some of the symptoms:

  • Mild exposure to CO can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, irregular breathing, drowsiness and confusion. The symptoms are similar to the flu but without a fever.  Those with heart disease can experience an increase in chest pain.
  • Severe exposure to CO can cause brain damage and death. Children and the elderly are even more susceptible.
  • CO doesn’t smell and you won’t be aware that high levels are being released into the air. That’s why it’s called the silent killer.
  • Some people who are overexposed simply fall asleep and never regain consciousness. Unfortunately, faulty heating devices are a major cause of CO poisoning during the cold weather.

Get outside immediately for fresh air and seek emergency medical help, if you think you or a family member has been exposed to CO.  Open the windows of your home to ventilate. Call the fire department and don’t use any faulty appliance/engine until it has been thoroughly checked out or replaced.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Make sure appliances are properly vented. Improperly ventilated appliances and engines, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels.

Have your appliances properly installed and maintained regularly.  Have professional service inspections on a timely basis. To ensure that your appliances and chimney are in working order and are venting properly. And, always follow manufacturer’s directions when operating any appliances. Here are some other helpful tips:

  • Make sure the room where an unvented gas or kerosene space heater is used is well ventilated.  Doors leading to another room should be open to allow added ventilation.
  • Never use an unvented heater overnight or in a room where you are sleeping.
  • And Never use charcoal grills inside a home, tent, camper, or unventilated garage.
  • Don’t leave vehicles running in an enclosed garage, even to “warm up” a car on a cold morning.

Here is a great CO Detector

Contact Me if you have any questions about CO detectors

Take the time today to go through your home and look at each of your CO detectors and be sure you have one on every floor or consider getting additional devices.

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