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Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Features
Safety Guidelines
Safety Actions

Every year, CO (Carbon Monoxide) poisons an estimated 10,000 Americans. This poisoning causes over 600 fatalities that could have been easily prevented through the use of a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-install CO detectors. These safety devices contain special sensors that detect and warn when excessive levels of CO are present. There is a new UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved CO detector on the market that will also determine if there is an explosive gas leak.

The Federal Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that every home be equipped with at least one UL (Underwriters Laboratory) approved CO detector on every level of the home, especially near sleeping areas. Most illnesses and deaths attributed to carbon monoxide can be prevented through the use of CO detectors. More information on CO detectors can be obtained from your local fire department. CO is produced when fossil fuels containing carbon (coal, oil or gas); wood, charcoal, paper or any other material are burned without sufficient oxygen to allow for complete combustion or are burned in an unventilated area. As carbon monoxide is inhaled, it inhibits the ability of the blood stream to carry oxygen throughout the body. Symptoms of exposure to low concentrations that are under 50 PPM (parts per million) of CO can cause headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath and chest pains, especially in persons with heart disease. The OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration) has established guidelines for business and industry which indicate that continuous exposure to carbon monoxide levels for healthy adults should not exceed 50 parts per million in an eight hour period. For residential use, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has established similar guidelines for a residential setting. Infants, children and ailing adults are more susceptible to lower effects of CO poisoning. Higher concentrations (50–100PPM) can result in severe headaches, dizziness, disorientation, and various flu-like symptoms that mysteriously disappear when away from the home or the source of exposure. Higher levels of exposure can result in a coma, convulsions, cardiac-respiratory failure and death.

Features
When purchasing a CO detector for your home or business, we recommend that you look for the following features:
  • Digital display that shows the PPM or the level of CO at a glance
  • Memory button that shows the peak CO level detected and the number of hours since that peak level occurred
  • Back-up battery system
  • Long-life sensor that doesn’t have to be replaced every 2 years
  • Equipped with a powerful decibel alarm of 85+
  • Versatile mounting options of a direct-plug, wall-mount or tabletop
  • Has a manufacturer’s warranty of a minimum 3 years
Safety Guidelines
Follow these simple safety guidelines to avoid becoming an unnecessary victim of the “Silent Killer”…Carbon Monoxide poisoning:
  • Purchase only UL approved CO detectors.
  • Install CO detectors, per manufacturer’s directions, on every level throughout the home.
    • In hallways near the bedrooms (within 15 feet per new law)
    • In the home near the attached garage
    • In rooms with space heaters or fireplaces
    • In areas where you may work with paint thinners or strippers
  • Have your furnace and water heater cleaned and checked on a yearly basis by a qualified contractor.
  • Test CO detectors and Smoke Detectors on a monthly basis.
  • Do not use any ventilating fans at the same time you are using a downdraft range, fireplace or wood burner.
  • Take precautions and eliminate risks.
  • Use all paint thinners or strippers in a well-ventilated area.
  • Never run a gasoline engine (such as a car) in an area that is not ventilated…garage doors must be open when a vehicle is running. The safest practice is to back it out of the garage and close the door.
  • Only use grills outside…they also give off CO.
Note: CO detectors should not be installed in garages, kitchens or furnace areas. The initial combustion of starting a car, turning on a range or igniting of the furnace may trigger the alarm.

Safety Actions
When a CO detector alarm sounds, take immediate action to avoid possible CO poisoning.
  • Immediately, call an ambulance if anyone is unconscious or extremely ill.
  • Open windows and doors to ventilate the area. CO is lighter than air so it dissipates rapidly.
  • Vacate the premises until you are told that it is safe to return.
  • Contact your local fire department to locate the source and the levels of CO in your home. When the source of CO is located, the fire department will contact the local gas utility or heating contractor to make repairs or to replace the faulty unit.
  • If any of your heating equipment or appliances are red tagged, do not use them. They must be replaced because they can no longer be safely used.
  • Have yourself and family members checked by a physician to determine the extent of CO poisoning. A simple blood test will determine the levels of CO in the blood stream. If levels of CO are elevated, you may require treatment in a hypervaric chamber to increase the levels of Oxygen in your bloodstream.