The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Posted On: October 18, 2012

Here at Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we specialize in installing carbon monoxide detectors in Kansas City. We’re very well aware of the important role these devices play in a home. Carbon monoxide is commonly referred to as a “silent killer.” Odorless, colorless, and tasteless, carbon monoxide is the leading cause of accidental poisoning, accounting for over half the fatal occurrences of poisoning, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Space heaters, oil or gas furnaces, and kitchen ranges are typical components of any home. In fact, you may already use a space heater to stay warm and toasty in this Kansas City weather. You may be surprised to learn that all these common home components are sources of carbon monoxide poisoning. Yet, close to 60 percent of American homes do not have carbon monoxide detectors installed, according to the Home Safety Council (HSC). This is a scary and alarming statistic.

There are several serious symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning that can worsen over time:

  • In early phases, symptoms may include headaches, dizziness, nausea, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
  • In later stages, symptoms may evolve into vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
  • If left untreated, death is a likely outcome.

How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work

A carbon monoxide detector is a fairly simple piece of technology. It features a carbon monoxide sensor that identifies and measures the carbon monoxide gas concentration in the atmosphere in parts per million (ppm). In the U.S., carbon monoxide sensors for homes are calibrated to detect carbon monoxide concentrations according to Underwriters Laboratories (UL) safety standards. When the carbon monoxide sensor detects dangerous levels of carbon monoxide, it shoots an electronic pulse to the alarm. Carbon monoxide detectors should be inspected to ensure they work properly. Carbon monoxide detectors actually have expiration dates, making it even more important that you regularly inspect your unit.

Carbon Monoxide Detector Placement

As a general rule of thumb, the more carbon monoxide detectors you have installed in your home, the better. As far as carbon monoxide detector placement is concerned, install one unit near every sleeping area and one above the garage – carbon monoxide can leak out of your car’s exhaust. For accurate results, place carbon monoxide detectors at least 15 feet away from any fuel burning appliances – this reduces the risk of false alarms.

In the U.S., emergency rooms treat about 15,000 people each year for carbon monoxide exposure, and an average of nearly 500 people die annually from exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).  So there is simply no reason any home in and around Kansas City, MO and throughout the U.S. should be without a carbon monoxide detector. Please contact Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing online or call us so we can install carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

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