One of the deadliest gases out there is carbon monoxide, and what makes it even more dangerous is the fact that it is odorless and colorless. As a poisonous gas, CO is unfortunately a by-product of many different fuels, more particularly when they are incompletely burned. The list includes that of coal, kerosene, oil, wood, propane, and even natural gas.
You should know that most if not all equipment and machines that use internal combustion engines like cars, power washers, generators, and lawnmowers product carbon monoxide, and when they do, everyone around or near those machines risk exposure to it.
While the number of people who die from carbon monoxide poisoning is not that alarming, at least in the U.S., the fact remains that the gas is indeed more than capable of ending a life. And while we mostly account carbon monoxide poisoning with automotive emissions, there actually is an increasing number of fatalities caused by non-automotive equipment. To be more specific, the machines and equipment we use to keep our homes comfortable are the same ones that could very well expose us to carbon monoxide.
Fortunately, there is one way of preventing the exposure to carbon monoxide in an indoor space. The carbon monoxide detector is specifically designed to detect the presence and build-up of the gas right before it can reach a dangerous and toxic level. If there is a leak of carbon monoxide in your home and you are not aware of it (remember, it is odorless and colorless), you can quickly get killed by it while you are sleeping. Thanks to a CO detector, an alarm sounds if there is a leak, allowing you to safely evacuate and ventilate your indoor space by opening the doors and windows. Keep in mind that time is very important when responding to that sound of the alarm. If you do not act fast, everyone in the family is put at risk of poisoning.
So, how do you exactly know if you need CO detector? Well, it’s actually very easy to figure that out. For example, if you practice the burning of coal, wood, or kerosene for heating or cooking in a confined space, it means you need it. The same thing applies if you use natural gas and propane in a confined space.
Furthermore, you need a CO detector if you are using a backup generator at home. Know that even if you place the generator and use it outside, the fumes it produces can still find their way inside via the doorways, windows, cracks, duct work, and vents. The lack of proper ventilation and seals in your home is good enough reason to install a detector.
You also will need a carbon monoxide detector if the hot water tank at home uses either natural gas or propane, and the same thing applies if the building where you live have a burner for heating that uses oil or natural gas. As a matter of fact, even the so-called bio fuel which is described as clean burning still emit carbon monoxide.
Majority of carbon monoxide detectors today are cost-effective and energy-efficient since they only use batteries, although those batteries need replacement from time to time. You have to be certain when the batteries need replacement since the last thing you want is to assume the detector is working when it no longer is. There also are some more sophisticated CO detectors that can be hardwired to the electrical systems. In fact, you’ll see it common for most homes to have CO, heat, and smoke detectors installed as a single unit and hardwired to the system. Now, if you happen to fancy this kind of setup, be sure that you also integrate a battery backup system so that you still can use the CO detector when there is a power outage.