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Protect Your Family with a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning can happen within a matter of minutes and is responsible for more deaths than any other single poison. The odorless, colorless poison can hurt you slowly in low levels, cause permanent neurological dysfunctions in moderate levels or take lives in higher levels.

Dizziness and headaches are symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is produced whenever fuel such as gas, oil, kerosene, wood or charcoal is burned. The amount of CO produced while using fuel-burning appliances is usually not harmful. It becomes hazardous when appliances are used improperly or are not functioning adequately.

Carbon Monoxide in the air can be effectively "sniffed out" by CO detectors that meet the requirements of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) standard 2034. CO poisoning is a factor of both the concentration of CO in the air and the length of exposure. Long-term exposure to low concentrations of CO can have the same or similar effects as short-term exposure to a high concentration.

Carbon monoxide detectors that meet the UL standard measure both high concentrations of CO over short periods of time and low concentrations of CO over long periods of time.

Detectors sound an alarm before the level of CO in a person's blood becomes crippling.

The price range for detectors that meet the UL 2034 standard is currently between $35 and $80. Beware of Inexpensive CO detectors that don't meet UL standards.

Some cheap CO detectors made of plastic or cardboard change color instead of sounding an alarm. You must check the visual indicator regularly in order to determine whether or not CO is present. Because of this, the detector must be placed in a high traffic area if it is to be useful. The major drawback of this kind of system is that if CO concentrations build up rapidly at night while family members are asleep there will be no warning of the danger. These detectors also have a limited life span.

CO Detector Installation

Since CO gases spread evenly and rapidly throughout the house, CO detectors should be installed on the wall or ceiling outside bedrooms to alert occupants who are sleeping.

Safety Devices on Appliances

Since the late 1980s, vent safety shutoff systems have been required on furnaces and vented heaters. These safety shutoff systems protect against blocked or disconnected chimneys and vents. Oxygen depletion sensors (ODS) have also been installed on unvented gas space heaters since the 1980s. These ODS protect against the production of CO caused by insufficient oxygen for proper combustion.

Although these devices (ODS and vent safety shutoff systems) serve as a line of defense against CO poisoning, they are no substitute for regular servicing by a professional. In addition, many older appliances may not have such safety devices. In any case, a CO detector is important in any home as a line of defense against this deadly gas.

To help you protect the health and safety of your family, we offer a variety of indoor air quality products including air filtration systems, carbon monoxide detectors, smoke detectors, electronic air cleaners, and indoor air testing services.