If you can not see it, taste it or smell it, can it still be harmful? If you are talking about carbon monoxide (CO), the answer is a definite yes. Often referred to as the Invisible Killer, CO is produced naturally in the environment as a result of the deterioration of animal products. However, carbon monoxide is also produced in fuel-burning automobiles and such appliances as furnaces, fireplaces, boilers and water heaters. If these devices malfunction or are operated in areas without proper ventilation, high levels of CO can build up and pose significant health threats to humans and pets.
Low and moderate levels of CO poisoning usually cause symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and fatigue. Unfortunately, because these symptoms also accompany minor illnesses such as the common cold or flu, they are often ignored. Exposure to high levels of concentrated CO can cause death in just a few minutes; in fact, each year there are more than 400 deaths nationally caused by accidental, non-fire carbon monoxide poisoning. Given this fact, it is imperative that you do everything you can to detect and prevent CO poisoning. This begins with the installation of a carbon monoxide detector. The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission has stated, “carbon monoxide detectors are as important to home safety as smoke detectors are.”
Here are some common types of CO detectors that are available for consumers to purchase:
- Digital Read-out. The most recommended for home use because they have a prominent display panel that shows the current, and previous, carbon monoxide concentration levels in your home in parts per million.
- Hard-wired. Connected directly to your building’s power supply, they come with battery backup and should be professionally installed and are normally used commercially.
- AC Plug-in. Detectors conveniently plug directly into the electricity outlets in your home.
- Dual Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. A combo unit can eliminate the need for two different detectors, but you should consider positioning variances before buying. Smoke alarms are generally best placed on the ceiling, while the best position for a CO detector is on the wall.
While installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home or business is highly recommended and even required by law in some states, the best way to ensure your home is safe from CO leaks is to have an assessment performed by trained, professional technicians. This test will determine if there are any harmful levels of carbon monoxide present, and what needs to be done to fix it. Call your friends at Sanborn’s today to schedule a tune-up and prevent potentially dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.