If you hear your carbon monoxide alarm beeping, exit your home immediately. Once everyone, including pets, is out of the home, contact the fire department so that they may respond. If anyone experiences any symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911 and get immediate medical attention. Do not enter the home for any reason until it has been checked and deemed safe to enter.
You should always take the alerts from a CO detector seriously. Althought false alarms are always a possibility and no device is perfect, you should never disreguard an alarm. Because of the potential danger, it is always better to leave the building and have the authorities inspect a potential false alarm than to ignore it and suffer the harmful effects of exposure.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a clear, odorless, and tasteless gas that can kill you. It is created and found in fumes associated with burning fuel found in cars, trucks, buses, engines, and other modes of transportation. It is also found in home appliances like stoves, grills, lanterns, fireplaces, and even furnaces. CO is produced by so many appliances and utilities that are used on a daily basis, it is important to be informed and cautious. If CO builds up indoors it can poison both people and animals who breathe it.
If your carbon monoxide detector is part of a home security system, you will have the advantage of having the fire department called as soon as the alarm sounds, saving you and your family precious time. This way, you can focus on getting everyone out of the home and first responders will arrive at your home to make sure everyone is alright.
Homes are not the only dwellings that are at risk for CO. Mobile homes, cabins, or even apartments are all subject to CO exposure. Even if you do not use gas-powered appliances and opt for wood-burning stoves and fireplaces, you are still at a similar risk for exposure to carbon monoxide. The danger is presented when CO builds in an enclosed space and there is no proper ventilation. Since carbon monoxide is impossible to detect with our natural senses, using a CO Detector in your home is one of the best ways to remain safe.
Carbon monoxide detectors function by reading the air quality and alerting you if the CO content rises above 100 ppm (Parts Per Million.) The CDC reported that if carbon monoxide levels in the home reach 1500-2000 ppm, it can be lethal within the hour. Specially designed carbon monoxide detectors have several presets to alert you within 15 minutes if CO is detected, leaving you plenty of time to react and stay safe.
There are several basic designs that are used in a CO detector to detect the levels of carbon monoxide it comes in contact with. One type is designed with a biometric sensor which will alert you when the gel inside changes color. The color change is a chemical reaction that happens when CO is introduced into the air. The second type is designed with a metal oxide semiconductor which will trigger in the presence of CO. The silica chip within the detector is designed to decrease the electrical resistance if the presence of CO is detected. Both ways will trigger an alarm to alert you to the presence of the dangerous gas.
CO detectors work differently from smoke detectors and they are not interchangeable. Smoke alarms function in two ways. The first uses photoelectric sensors which send out beams of infrared light. When this light is blocked by the presence of smoke, it will sound. The second type is an ionization alarm which uses a minor amount of radioactive material that enables electric currents to flow. If smoke enters the chamber it interrupts the current's flow between the electrodes and triggers the alarm. An ionization alarm is better for detecting fast-flame fires but has a higher chance of being set off by steam or dust, causing a false alarm.
However, neither type of smoke detector functions as a detector for carbon monoxide. Despite building codes requiring smoke alarms, there is no code requirement for CO leaving most homes completely unprotected. Upgrading to higher quality smoke and carbon monoxide alarms will improve the overall safety and security in your home.
A major benefit to advanced smoke and CO detectors is that they have several chirping functions. There are several settings that signal different things. If you find your carbon monoxide alarm beeping, there could be several things the device is trying to tell you. The first alarm sound is the primary signal to evacuate the home. The second chirp is to alert you to a low battery, and a final chirp signals the end of the detector’s lifespan. Testing your detector to know the difference between the sounds is a good way to familiarize yourself so you know what actions to take.
The best way to find out the difference between the sounds your detector makes is to use the test button on the detector. By triggering a test, you are able to ensure the device functions, as well as recognize what the alarm will sound like. The sounds emitted from a carbon monoxide alarm are not always the same as a smoke detector alarm. Knowing the difference can be highly beneficial since it will allow you to know what actions should be taken.
As a result of the isotopes built into several types of detectors, they do deteriorate over time and will eventually fail. Once this happens, you will need to replace the detector and it is always a good idea to upgrade to the latest model. The average lifespan of a carbon monoxide detector is about five years, but environmental factors can shorten this lifespan. Fortunately, most detectors have test buttons which allow you to familiarize yourself with the specific alarm sounds as well as allow you to verify that they are in working condition.
Because CO disperses itself around the room, the ceiling is not necessarily the best place to install your CO detector. Neither is a corner or a part of the home which does not have great airflow. The best places to install CO detectors would be in the kitchen, near any gas appliances, and in the central living space where the airflow is the most consistent. Installing a CO detector within 5 to 20 feet of any gas appliance is recommended.
Usually placing the CO detector five feet from the ground is the most practical location. You should also consider placing one near every sleeping area and there should be one on every floor of your home. This will help to ensure maximum protection and provide the most extensive coverage. Because of the negative and harmful effects which can be caused by CO, and with how inexpensive it can be to make sure that your home is safe, installing as many as needed is a worthwhile investment.
Just having CO detectors installed is not enough to ensure your safety. You must make sure that they are working and placed in the best locations. Installing your CO detector about five feet up on the wall is better than placing it on the ceiling. The same five feet restriction is also recommended for the distance any detector should be from any CO producing utility.
It is also a best practice to change out the batteries frequently. Twice a year when you set your clocks forward or back during daylight savings, it is recommended to change the batteries for maximum security. Use higher quality batteries in your detectors. Not only will they last longer and provide a better performance, but they will keep your detector in the best working condition. Poor battery performance can either damage your device or cause device failure.
Another added benefit of an integrated security system with a carbon monoxide detector is knowing when the batteries are low. Most systems will alert you to a low battery which will make sure you are constantly protected. A detector will not do you any good if the battery is dead.
A great way to protect you and your family from CO ia to install a high-quality Cove Security System with CO detectors. This simple DIY system integrates your monitor with the CO detector in your home. A Cove system will alert you when the batteries are low and in the case of an emergency it will warn you with an alarm while it contacts the fire department. Let us worry about contacting the authorities and make sure you get a quick response from your local firefighters. This way you can worry and focus on getting your family to safety. Improve the security of your home by installing carbon monoxide detectors today.