Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic gas that is produced during incomplete combustion of carbon. Deadly amounts of CO can be found in homes with faulty gas appliances, woodstoves or other sources of combustion. The good news is that CO can be safely detected in homes by CO detectors. This is why it’s extremely important to properly install and maintain CO alarms, and know what to do when one sounds.
- CO alarms should be battery-operated or have batteries as backup, and should bear the label of a nationally-recognized testing laboratory.
- CO detectors must be installed on every level a home following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Objects like furniture parts or drapery should not cover the alarm.
- All CO alarms should be interconnected to provide the best protection. If one sounds, they all do.
- Both CO alarms and smoke alarms should be installed in a home. Combination smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are available on the market.
- Portable carbon monoxide alarms can be used when travelling.
- CO alarms should be tested once a month by pressing the test button to ensure they work properly. Everyone in the household should know when a smoke alarm test is being performed.
- CO detector batteries need to be replaced at least once a year. A good time to change the batteries is when Daylight Savings Time ends. Batteries should also be replaced when the audible trouble signal sounds to indicate low batteries.
- The CO alarms should be replaced once every 10 years. However, each CO alarm has a different lifespan. The manufacturer’s instructions should specify when to change the alarms.
If a CO Alarm Sounds:
- Everyone in the home should be alerted and exit the building safely.
- Once outside, 911 should be called immediately. Going back inside is not advised until emergency services personnel gives the all-clear.
- Anyone suspected of CO poisoning (symptoms include feeling dizzy, light-headed or nauseous) must get immediate medical help.
Preventing CO in Your Home
- Gas, oil or coal-burning appliances must be serviced by a technician every year.
- Only gas equipment carrying the seal of a national testing laboratory should be purchased.
- Chimneys should be inspected and cleaned every year. They can be clogged by debris that can cause CO to build up in the home.
- Gasoline-powered tools like portable generators must not be operated in or near the house, garage or other enclosed space.
- Gas ranges, ovens or charcoal grills should never be used for heating indoors.
- Cars or trucks should never be run inside a garage attached to the house, even if the door is open.
For more information on carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, here are tips to prevent carbon monoxide poisoningand how to choose smoke detectors for homes. The PuroClean team stands ready to provide professional restoration services to any property affected by fire, water or mould damage.