500 per year. That’s how lives are lost due to Carbon Monoxide poisoning. Compared to the millions of inhabitants living through the country that may seem like a trivial amount. But even 1 person killed is not trivial. Imagine if that person was in your family? Clearly, this is not a subject to be taken lightly. In a previous post we talked about how dangerous Carbon Monoxide (or “CO”) can be. It may be odorless, tasteless and invisible, but it is anything but harmless. Now we’re going to point out key facts to protect your family from the Silent Killer!
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 you can easily test to ensure proper operation.
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.
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 (310) 651-6936 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 NEVER, sleep in a room with an unvented gas or kerosene space heater.
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