When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Nicknamed the “Silent Killer”, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas.  Even though you can’t see it or smell it, being exposed to high levels of this poisonous gas can kill a person within minutes.  This gas is harmful when inhaled because it displaces oxygen in the blood and leaves the heart, brain and other vital organs without proper levels of oxygen.

What are the main sources of Carbon Monoxide leaks?
Carbon Monoxide is produced when any fuel such as gasoline, oil, wood, kerosene, or charcoal is burned and can be produced by any fuel-burning device. Three main sources are furnaces, dryer vents, and a fireplace or chimney. Regularly scheduled maintenance of these sources can help prevent a CO leak that could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.

What does a Carbon Monoxide Detector do?
Carbon monoxide detectors do exactly that, detect the poisonous gas and provide early warning.

Where should you place your Carbon Monoxide Detector?
The detectors can be placed anywhere in the room, on the wall or the ceiling.  There should be a detector on each level of your home or building as well as any room where people sleep.

Why is your Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping?
It is important to familiarize yourself with the carbon monoxide detector.  There are different beep patterns to communicate whether there is an emergency or simply a need to replace.

  • 4 beeps and a pause: This means that there is carbon monoxide in the air and you should seek fresh air immediately and call 9-1-1.
  • 1 beep every minute: This means that the alarm has low batteries and you should replace them.
  • 5 beeps every minute: This means your alarm has reached the end of its life and needs to be replaced with a new carbon monoxide alarm.
How often should you test and/or replace your Carbon Monoxide Detector?
You should test your detectors at least once a month.  If it has replaceable batteries, they should be replaced every 6 months.  Life is hectic and it can be daunting to try to remember this, consider setting an alert in your phone or email to remind you it’s time to replace the batteries!

In the event of a carbon monoxide leak, it is critical that you get to fresh air as soon as possible. Make sure you familiarize yourself with the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning.  A few key symptoms can include (but are not limited to), headaches, dizziness, mental confusion, nausea, and a feeling of faintness.  Many of these symptoms can be similar to those of the flu, which could deter you from considering CO poisoning as the cause.

Sources: www.osha.com; www.nfpa.org/; www.epa.gov/

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