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Carbon Monoxide Alarm: What Do You Need to Know?

Mar 06, 2021
Carbon Monoxide Alarm: What Do You Need to Know?

A carbon monoxide alarm is designed to warn you when CO levels have begun to accumulate over some time. It emits a siren before most people can experience poisoning symptoms. Whether you place a decent CO alarm at home or in your commercial property, it will allow you to respond appropriately to the problem.


What Is Carbon Monoxide (CO)?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a molecule consisting of one part carbon and one part oxygen. Being called a “silent killer” this colourless and odourless poisonous gas can be fatal when inhaled.


Where Does Carbon Monoxide (CO) Come From?

It comes when carbon fuel, for example, coal, gasoline, wood, and heating oil, doesn’t burn completely. When burnt in an open area these energy sources are not dangerous. However, when you burn them in confined spaces such as garages and basements, it becomes hazardous as it inhibits the blood's capacity to carry oxygen. 

Moreover, some improperly installed or malfunctioning fuel-burning devices, stoves, fireplaces, blocked chimneys etc. may be possible sources of CO. One of the reasons CO gas is so dangerous is that it is hard to detect without a CO detector.


What Are the Effects of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Exposure?

The Carbon Monoxide exposure symptoms are “flu-like”, including severe headaches, dizziness, sleepiness, nausea, weakness, chest pain and disorientation. People who are drunk or asleep can die before having any symptoms.


What Steps I Can Take to Prevent Carbon Monoxide (CO) Poisoning?

  • First of all, the only way to prevent CO poisoning is to be able to detect it on time. To do so, you should supply your home with carbon monoxide alarms in sleeping areas and on every level of your property. CO detector is the only decent way to detect carbon monoxide.
  • Address a qualified technician to inspect and maintain your vents, heating system and chimney yearly.
  • Follow the manufacturer's instructions when installing and operating appliances.
  • Don’t use fuel-powered appliances in enclosed or attached areas. Don’t leave your car idling in a closed garage. CO can get into your property through doors and vents.


Do I Need A Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm? Where Should It Be Installed?

  • If you have at least one heater or other fuel-burning appliance, a fireplace or an attached garage, your property should have a carbon monoxide alarm.
  • In case your property features only one CO alarm, it should be installed in the bedroom or the hall outside it.
  • There should be an alarm on every level and in every bedroom.
  • The best way to place your CO detector is 30 centimetres away from fuel-burning tools or appliances.
  • Do not place the CO alarm near doors or windows or in dead air spaces.
  • It is important to run regular tests of your carbon monoxide alarms once a week by pressing the reset or test button.
  • Every month remove the dust from your Carbon Monoxide alarm by unplugging it and wiping it with a dry cloth.


Should My Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Have A Digital Display?

If your CO alarm features a digital display, you can respond to CO levels before it becomes hazardous. It also shows the current CO level and updates every 15 seconds.


What Key Features to Look at When Purchasing Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm?

Generally speaking, CO detectors must sense CO fast and alert you immediately. At the same time, there is a surprising amount of variety. Here are the key features to pay attention to:

Electrochemical sensor. Such CO alarms are more stable during temperature changes and humidity.

End-of-life alert. This feature warns the users that it is time to replace their carbon monoxide alarm.

Battery-powered. Consider this type of CO alarm If you live in an area prone to power outages or if you own a gas-powered generator. These units suggest 24-hour CO monitoring when power is interrupted. The CO detectors can also be moved from room to room.

Peak-Level Memory. This feature keeps the record of the highest level of CO. 

Plug-in with Battery Backup. While you use the electrical socket most of the time, these carbon monoxide alarms also feature a battery for protection if a short-term power outage happens.

Voice Alert. In addition to a regular alarm beep, you will get a clear announcement of the threat.


What Should I Do If My Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Goes Off?

Never ignore the alarm! If you or anyone else is experiencing symptoms, get into the fresh air and call emergency. 

If you are not experiencing symptoms, call a qualified technician or the fire department. While you are waiting, you can open the windows and doors, turn off all appliances. 


Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. The only way to prevent such unfavourable situations is to install a proper CO detector. Nowadays, you can choose from a number of options, including battery-powered or plug-in alarms, alarms with peak-level memory, voice alert, digital screen and end-of-life alert.

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