Protecting your Family from Carbon Monoxide

500 people per year. That’s how many die due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. That may not seem like a lot of people, but even 1 person is one too many. And what if that person was in your family? So this is not a subject to be taken lightly. In a previous post we talked about ‘The Silent Killer’, as Carbon Monoxide (or “CO”) is often called. It may be odorless, tasteless and invisible, but it is anything but harmless.

This week we are going to discuss information on how to protect your family from the Silent Killer!

Prevention is the Key

Since the 1/3 of CO poisoning deaths are a result of fuel burning systems, your best investment to protect your family is making sure that your heating system is operating properly. Once a year you should have a trained professional check all of your fuel-burning appliances, such as oil or gas furnace, gas water heater, gas range and oven, gas clothes dryer, or gas/kerosene space heaters. The trained technicians here at GAMA Air are happy to evaluate your situation and make adjustments if necessary. Give us a call at (323) 655-6126 or use our online form to request a check-up. In the case of a fireplace or wood stove, it is critical to be sure that the flues and chimneys are in good condition and are not blocked. 

Whenever possible only install heating systems that vent fumes to the outside. If you have a situation where you are forced to use a non-venting space heater then we cannot overemphasize the importance of following the manufacturer’s guidelines carefully and thoroughly. And never, I mean NEVERsleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

What about installing CO Alarms in your home? In recent years, CO alarms have become widely available. If you decide to install one, make sure to choose one that meets the strict requirements of Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or International Approval Service (IAS). However, do not rely solely on an alarm as if it were the “be all, end all” to warn you of dangerous CO levels. You still must follow good preventative measures.

It is recommended that you install at least one CO alarm in your home, putting it outside of the sleeping area. However if your home has sleeping areas in distinct parts of the house then it would be wise to install multiple alarms. Choose an alarm with a long-term warranty and one that can be easily self-tested to ensure proper functioning.

Battery-operated alarms are easy to install and will function during a power failure, and that is exactly when emergency (and less-safe) heating might be used. However, if it is not too difficult, the best would be to install an alarm that uses line-voltage (110-120 volts) but that also has a battery backup. Either way you go, make it a habit to change the battery once a year, just as you do for the smoke alarms in your home.

Need to ask us a quick question? Visit our Ask an Expert page and post your question along with how we can reach you and our resident HVAC expert will reply quickly!

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