If you don't have working carbon monoxide detectors in your Cleveland area home, install them right away. Tragically, an average of 170 deaths occur each year from accidental, non-automotive CO exposure, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. There is no reason for you or your loved ones to become part of that statistic.
Generally, you'll need one CO alarm outside the sleeping area of your home, at minimum. If you have a two-story home you need at least one detector on each floor. A sprawling home layout may also require more alarms for adequate coverage. To avoid false positive alarms and achieve accurate sensing: install the units high on the wall, at least 5 feet from gas-fueled appliances, avoiding humid areas such as the bathroom. Follow all manufacturer instructions for installation, operation and testing. Remember that smoke alarms are also needed, or you can choose combination CO-and-smoke detectors.
If your alarm sounds, evacuate the home immediately and call 911 from outdoors or a neighbor's home. At lower exposure levels, physical signs of carbon monoxide poisoning can mimic the flu. So if you experience unexplained or longer term flu-like symptoms you may need treatment.
Most common CO monitors found in home centers and hardware stores react at relative high level of exposure. If you want to protect yourself from longer term exposure at lower levels which can also be a concern, you might look into a low-level CO monitor. These units are generally only available from professional HVAC contractors. For more detailed information about these units, see previous blog posts discussing these low-level CO monitors.
In addition to the the protection you get from your carbon monoxide detectors, it is important to take steps that can prevent CO exposure entirely. To prevent CO issues in your house, be certain that your gas appliances and furnace are properly maintained and serviced on a regular basis. These include:
- Fuel-fired furnaces
- Gas stoves
- Water heaters
- Wood stoves
- Gas-fueled clothes dryers
Annual preventive maintenance will go a long way toward ensuring that your family will never face the risks of a CO leak. Also, request that your HVAC technician inspect the home for proper ventilation. Do not operate gas-powered equipment, such as an automobile, lawn mower, snowblower or a charcoal grill in the house or in your garage, even if you leave the door wide open. Attached garages can pose unique safety concerns and need to be properly evaluated.
If you have questions about carbon monoxide alarms, annual preventive maintenance or other HVAC issues, contact the professionals at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling.