Why You Need a CO Detector in Your Home

Posted On: February 12, 2018

A CO detector is a home safety essential—a true necessity for every homeowner. Carbon monoxide is a silent, invisible killer that can be caught with an inexpensive CO detector. Along with a smoke alarm, a CO detector alerts you to the presence of a dangerous threat in your home, giving you the opportunity to evacuate and avoid injury. Here at Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we like to take the opportunity to remind our customers about the dangers of carbon monoxide and how to make your home safer.

CO Tragedies: Don’t Become a Statistic

Nearly every winter, there is a tragic news story about an individual or family tragically dying of CO poisoning in their sleep due to a faulty heater or when using a kitchen stove for heating. Carbon monoxide is not only dangerous in winter, however, and death can occur in minutes.

Many items used in a typical home can emit dangerous CO gas. Since today’s homes are typically very well-insulated for energy efficiency, the chance of CO buildup is increased, if CO-producing items malfunction (or are misused in a confined area). Our HVAC maintenance services are a great way to ensure your furnace always operates safely and efficiently.

What Are Common Household Sources of Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion. Hazardous CO can be released by any malfunctioning or improperly vented fuel-burning appliance or tool in your home, including your:

  • Gas or wood-burning fireplace
  • Kitchen stove or oven
  • BBQ grill (which should always be used outdoors)
  • Car (which should never be left running in the garage, even with the garage door open)
  • Gasoline-powered lawn mower (push type, self-propelled, or riding)
  • Furnace, wall heater, or home heating system (HVAC)
  • Heating stoves (wood or pellet powered)
  • Bulk wood pellet storage can cause CO emission/off-gassing (storage bins/rooms should be vented)
  • Hydronic heating (radiant, under-floor heating that uses hot water or steam)
  • Boilers
  • Generators (never use in an enclosed, unventilated space)
  • Hot water heater (storage tank type)
  • Kerosene lanterns
  • Items that burn wood, gasoline, natural gas, diesel fuel, kerosene, propane, charcoal, or coal.

How Does Carbon Monoxide Kill?

Carbon monoxide is hazardous because the gas displaces oxygen in blood cells, depriving vital organs of necessary oxygen, if you’re caught in an enclosed area where CO has built up. Since the gas is invisible and has no telltale smell, your sole warning comes from your CO detector.

How to Prevent CO Dangers in Your Home

  • Install CO detectors properly, on the ceiling outside sleeping areas, with at least one detector on each floor of your home. Avoid installing it close to a gas stove, which may emit a small amount of CO during normal operation. Don’t install directly outside of a bathroom since shower steam could interfere with proper function. Install CO detectors in your garage, too, especially in an attached garage.
  • Find out our recommendations on the best carbon monoxide detector features.
  • Test your carbon monoxide detectors annually.
  • Install batteries when prompted (on certain models).
  • Replace CO detectors when their expiration date has been reached.
  • Have all CO-emitting items at home properly installed and vented directly to the outdoors for increased safety.
  • Have all appliances (and items listed above) inspected annually for potential CO production.

Schedule CO Detector Installation in Lenexa, KS & Kansas City, MO

If you need assistance with CO detector installation or HVAC inspection and maintenance, call on Top Notch Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We’re dedicated to your safety and home comfort in the Lenexa and Kansas City areas.

Contact us online to schedule CO detector installation in Kansas or Missouri today!

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