If your home has fuel-powered equipment, such as a gas furnace, you run the risk of exposing you and your loved ones to dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO), an odorless, colorless, and sometimes fatal gas. Because all combustible systems, even wood-burning stoves, release CO as a by-product, it's important to use carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. Where you place carbon monoxide detectors is just as important. Otherwise, they might not be able to do their job, which is to alert you of hazardous CO levels, before it’s too late.
Why is CO a problem?
Unlike some other hazardous gases, you can’t smell, taste or see CO. And CO poisoning is swift and deadly. Every year, almost 200 people in the U.S. die from CO poisoning. And thousands more suffer adverse reactions to CO exposure. The health symptoms of CO exposure are hard to detect, because they are the same as flu symptoms, but after just a few hours of exposure to CO, people can experience vomiting, loss of control over muscles, an unconscious state, and, in worst-case scenarios, death.
How do carbon monoxide detectors help?
Carbon monoxide devices are designed to detect high and/or low levels of CO, both of which can lead to health problems, but low levels of exposure over a long period of time can lead to serious health problems, particularly for the young and old, or those who already suffer from health issues.
What are the best locations for detectors?
When installing detectors in your home, follow these tips:
- Install a detector no more than 15 feet from all sleeping areas. When you consider a detector's placement, remember that it needs to be in a location where it can wake you and your loved ones from a sound sleep.
- Use at least one device on every level of your home.
- Avoid placing a detector near fuel-burning equipment, bathrooms, or kitchens, as this will lead to false readings.
- Place the devices at eye level or higher.
If you already have carbon monoxide detectors in your home, if you’re planning on installing them, follow these tips for best placement—because where you locate them is just as important as having them. For more tips on home safety, contact the leading HVAC (heating, ventilation and air conditioning) experts in the Mid-Ohio region at Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating, Inc.. Serving local homeowners with pride since 1965.