The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) reports 10,000 people become ill each year and 1,500 die because of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. Fortunately, you can avoid it by installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home and checking their status to ensure they’re in good working order.
Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that’s produced by common gas or oil appliances such as a furnace, water heater, and oven. The trace amounts generated by these appliances are usually harmless. However, if your home is poorly ventilated or one of the appliances has a problem, it can cause the CO levels in your home to increase rapidly.
Medium exposure to carbon monoxide can cause drowsiness, throbbing headaches, confusion, and a fast heart rate. High exposure can cause convulsions, heart and lung failure, unconsciousness, brain damage and even death.
For all those reasons, it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Follow these guidelines to ensure your detectors are actively protecting your family.
Install at least one CO detector on each level of your house. You should also have a detector near or in each separate bedroom. A detector will be falsely triggered if it’s too close to fuel-burning sources such as a natural gas furnace. Make sure your detectors are 15-20 feet away from such sources.
Test Each Detector
Ensure proper function by performing the following test – press the Test button that’s on the front of your detector and don’t release it until it sounds. If it doesn’t sound within 20 seconds, it may be lacking adequate power or may need replacement.
Change Batteries Regularly
Replace the batteries in your battery-operated detectors when you’re adjusting your clocks for daylight saving time, or immediately you get a low battery warning.