Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Cooler Days Are Just Ahead -- Does Your Family Have Adequate Protection?

It won't be long before you have to button up your home for the cooler weather approaching, which means that you'll have to depend on your carbon monoxide detectors to keep you and your family safe. If you use gas for cooking, water heating or drying your clothes, you're at risk any time of year for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning, but especially so once you close up your home for fall and turn on the furnace. CO is a colorless, odorless gas that's only detectable with an alarm. 

Although building codes in Ohio mandates CO detectors in new homes, it's up to homeowners to install their own in existing homes. Use these guidelines to learn about using carbon monoxide detectors for home safety:

  • Choose CO detectors that have a digital display of the CO levels in your home if you have older fuel-burning appliances. The periodic display helps you discover when an appliance is malfunctioning. Continued exposure to lower levels of CO won't be lethal, but the health effects of constantly breathing CO is harmful to your health. If your appliances are newer and well-maintained, a battery-operated detector may be sufficient. 
  • At the very least, place a CO detector on each level of your home. If you have to phase in the purchases, put the first one near the master bedroom at least 10 feet from the bedroom door at eye level.
  • Keep the detectors at least 14 feet away from any fuel-burning appliance, such as a gas stove, dryer, water heater or furnace blower. Trace amounts of CO may escape when these appliances first ignite. If your garage is attached to your home, don't place the detector any closer than 14 feet to the adjoining door. 
  • Avoid putting the detectors close to humid areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens, since humidity interferes with accurate detection. 
  • Check the batteries once a month because the detectors use more battery power than smoke detectors.

While carbon monoxide detectors are essential for safety, so is preseason heating system maintenance. If you'd like to learn more, contact Joe Behr Plumbing & Heating. We've provided quality HVAC services for mid-Ohio since 1965.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Mid-Ohio area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about carbon monoxide detectors and other HVAC topics, visit our website.

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