Saturday, 19 January 2013

Should You Get a Carbon Monoxide Detector for Your Home?

Most homes have smoke detectors to warn of the smoke created by flames or smoldering fires. In many communities their use is mandated. However, the danger from fire is actually fairly easy to detect; smoke is visible, and you can smell it. What if there was a poisonous gas in your home that was colorless, tasteless, odorless and incredibly deadly? Would you know it was there?

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas produced by fuel that has not been completely burned. Anything that burns oil-based or solid fuels can produce carbon monoxide.  Potential sources include ovens, furnaces, boilers, camp stoves, freestanding cookers, generators, gas heaters or water heaters, space heaters, fireplaces or cars.  In the wrong circumstances (such as those involving improper installation, poor maintenance, misuse, or inadequate ventilation), all of these common devices can put your family at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is often referred to as the "silent killer" because it is undetectable and because victims don't realize that they are being poisoned.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, over 15,000 people are treated each year for non-fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning, and 500 of them die. Many of these poisonings or deaths occur as the result of improperly installed or badly maintained consumer devices in the home. Some of these could have been prevented by following common-sense guidelines such as having all of your potentially CO-generating appliances serviced yearly by competent technicians. And almost all of them could have been prevented by the installation of a carbon monoxide detector that costs less than what you might pay to take your family out to an evening at the movies.

Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to measure the levels of CO in the air over time, and to sound an alarm before it reaches a dangerous level. Smoke detectors cannot do this. All CO detectors must meet rigorous safety standards, are reliable and last for many years.

If you decide to invest in carbon monoxide detectors for your home, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends that one CO detector should be installed in the hallway outside each of the sleeping areas of your home. They do not recommend installing them in kitchens, near heating vents or above fuel-burning appliances. Detectors can be battery powered or plugged into an electrical outlet, but even the hard-wired detectors should have battery backup to protect you in case of a loss of power. Follow the manufacturer's instructions carefully during installation. If your carbon monoxide detector sounds an alarm, evacuate your home immediately and call 911. If you feel dizzy, light-headed or nauseous, seek immediate medical attention.

Given their low cost, most health and safety experts consider carbon monoxide detectors a wise investment in your family's safety.

About the Author:

Dr. Matt Ramirez graduated with a degree in Bachelor of Human Biology in 2004 and received his Doctor of Chiropractic Degree in 2006. He specializes in auto injury recovery and rehabilitation and has enhanced and improved thousands of lives as well as treated people of all ages over the years. He is also an expert in health and wellness, massage therapy, chiropractic care, and more...If you are looking for a Chiropractor in Salt Lake City, Dr. Matt is the best. Click here to know more about him

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