The Centers for Disease Control reports that accidental carbon monoxide poisoning sends more than 50,000 people in the U.S. to hospitals every year. Tragically, at least 450 people die annually from carbon monoxide poisoning. The good news is Carbon monoxide poisoning is easily preventable. The best line of defense is a working carbon monoxide detector on each floor of your home.
What is Carbon Monoxide?
Sometimes referred to as “the invisible killer,” carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that’s produced when gasoline, propane, wood, charcoal, and other fuels don’t burn completely. A bad furnace or water heater can quickly lead to high CO levels in your home.
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, headache, and shortness of breath. If exposed to high levels continuously, unconsciousness and death can occur. Children and pets are often the first to show symptoms because they take more breaths than adults. If you notice symptoms clear up when you leave home, or if everyone in your home is experiencing symptoms, leave immediately and don’t return until your home has been checked by your local fire department.
Tips for Keeping Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Working
Check the Expiration Date – Carbon monoxide detectors do expire. Usually, there will be an expiration date stamped on the back of the unit. If your unit is nearing its expiration date, it’s best to replace it.
Battery Changes – It’s good practice to install new batteries at least every six months. Some people make a habit of changing their batteries every time they change their clocks for daylight savings time, so they don’t forget.
Backup Batteries – If your carbon monoxide detectors are wired or plugged into your home’s electrical system, install backup batteries so it will continue to work during power outages.
Clean Your Detector – At least a few times per year, you’ll want to clean your carbon monoxide detector. Use a compressed air can or a vacuum with a soft brush to clear any dust from around the sensors.
How to Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector
Knowing how to test your carbon monoxide detector is important. Most detectors have a “test” button on the front of the unit. To test, simply push and hold the button for approximately 20 seconds. Listen for two loud beeps. If the detector does not beep, try again. If it still doesn’t beep, and the batteries are new, then you’ll want to replace it right away. Ask your local fire department about proper disposal or recycling options.
Need Help Installing Your Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
If you want to be sure your carbon monoxide detectors are properly installed, we can help you out. If you need help with smoke detectors or anything electric in your home, give us a call today. We can make sure your home is electrically sound and safe with a simple inspection.
Omaha – 402-731-1220
Lincoln – 402-464-4333