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Why You Need a Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm

What Is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

You already know that we breathe in oxygen and exhale CO2 (carbon dioxide). But what about carbon monoxide (CO)? Much like oxygen and CO2, carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. However, it is highly dangerous and leads to deadly carbon monoxide poisoning when inhaled.

CO is formed as a result of fuel combustion. For example, cars and trucks emit carbon monoxide as they burn fuel. As the engine runs, CO is pumped out as exhaust, and without proper ventilation, carbon monoxide will build up to dangerous levels. This is why you should never leave a running vehicle in a closed garage or workshop.

The following produce carbon monoxide:

  • Cars
  • Motorcycles
  • Trucks
  • Stoves
  • Fireplaces
  • Gas ranges
  • Furnaces
  • Water heaters
  • Grills

This list is by no means comprehensive, and many small and large engines produce carbon monoxide.

Why CO Alarms Are So Important

Because CO is odorless and colorless, if it is leaking into your home, you generally will not know it. This is why carbon monoxide has sometimes been referred to as “the silent killer.” According to the CDC, nearly 430 people die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning, and approximately 50,000 more are hospitalized.

As you can see from the above list, you likely have several if not all of the CO-producing vehicles or appliances in your home right now. This is why a CO alarm is so vitally important to the safety of your home. Carbon monoxide alarms keep you, your family, and your pets safe from dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms of CO poisoning include:

  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Weakness
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Chest pain

Everyone is susceptible to CO poisoning, and it can be especially dangerous at night when everyone is sleeping and not awake to notice symptoms. However, with CO alarms installed in your home, you can rest easy and know that you will be notified immediately if one of your appliances is leaking carbon monoxide.

Other Ways to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

In addition to having CO alarms installed throughout your home, you should also have your heating system, fireplace, range, water heater, and other gas appliances serviced by skilled professionals. Additionally, when installing new appliances, make sure that they are properly vented and installed by licensed professionals.

Another way to protect yourself from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning is to ensure that all of your CO alarms are up to date and installed with battery backups. This will ensure that they are in good working order should you ever need them. You should also check the batteries regularly and replace them every six months to ensure that your alarms will work when you need them to.

Do I Have Enough CO Alarms?

Depending on the age of your home, you may already have hardwired CO alarms installed, or you may have battery-powered alarms. Many homes also have combo smoke and CO alarms installed. However, it is important to remember that CO alarm laws have changed dramatically over the years and can vary from state to state. Do not take for granted that you have adequate CO alarms installed in your home or that the ones you have are up to code.

If you are unsure, it is always best to have a professional inspect your property. At Donmar Heating, Cooling & Plumbing, we offer professional CO alarm installation services, and we can help you protect you and your family today. Reach out to our CO alarm specialists online to schedule an appointment.