Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas produced as a byproduct of combustion. Gas-burning appliances and heating equipment that are properly vented outside are not a problem. However, if CO is allowed to come back into the home or other sealed space, it can quickly cause illness or death. A blocked chimney or other exhaust system is one potential area of concern.
To help protect your family from CO poisoning, it is a good idea to have appliances and heating systems checked annually. Installing at least one CO detector with an audible alarm near sleeping areas is a second line of defense. If your home has multiple levels, consider installing one on each level.
When shopping for a CO detector with an audible alarm, look for packaging that includes a UL (Underwriter’s Laboratory) certification with the words “UL Mark with Single Station Carbon Monoxide Alarm” or, in Canada, the Canadian Standards Association (CSA). Features of some detectors include a manual reset/silence button which allows you to reset the detector. If CO levels remain high, the alarm sounds again in a few minutes. Most CO detectors plug into the wall. These must have continuous power to work. Some have a certain amount of battery backup power. Others have a memory allowing them to tracking low level exposure to CO as well as short-term high-level exposure.
CO detectors trigger an alarm based on the accumulation of CO over time. They can be installed at any height, but should be installed indoors away from heating elements, high humidity areas or places where chemicals like deodorant sprays or finger nail polish remover are used.
Test and clean all CO detectors regularly according to the manufactures directions to keep them operating properly.
For more information on carbon monoxide poisoning and how you can keep your family safe, go to: