5 Ways to Avoid Carbon Monoxide Poisoning In Your Home

how to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning in your home

If you’re a homeowner, you undoubtedly have a smoke detector somewhere in your house. It should be routine to test their functionality once a month, change their batteries when needed, and ensuring they’re installed in the correct locations in your home.

But while the preparation for a house fire is standard, many families fall short in ensuring they protect themselves from another deadly home hazard: carbon monoxide poisoning.

Between the period of 1999-2010, 5,149 people died from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes (source: CDC). Recently, the New York Times published an article detailing the rising fatalities in China due to exposure to carbon monoxide. Despite the dangers of carbon monoxide that have been present for decades, public safety education is severely lacking in helping people make their homes safe against this potentially harmful gas.

Max Mechanical wants everyone to feel safe in their home, which is why we’ve put together some tips to help avoid or detect excess carbon monoxide in your residence. If you are concerned about the carbon monoxide levels in your house or would like to improve your home’s indoor air quality, give us a call.

  1. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Much like smoke detectors and locks, carbon monoxide detectors should be a staple in home safety preparation but are not given the attention they deserve. If you are preparing to purchase a home, always ask about the age and functionality of the current carbon monoxide detectors, and consider replacing them completely if they are unsure.

Digital carbon monoxide detectors are recommended, with brands like First Alert and Kidde consistently being the front-runners for top CO detector brands in 2018. While it may be tempting to skimp on quality to lower the overall price, it’s not worth the risk. You can purchase carbon monoxide detectors at your local hobby store, or at larger home improvement retailers.

  1. Check the Placement of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

We know it may be tempting to put carbon monoxide detectors in every room of your house – unfortunately, that will only cost you extra money in unnecessary detectors and possibly cause false positive results that could give you and your family a scare.

Undoubtedly, the best rooms to place carbon monoxide detectors are in all of the bedrooms. Prolonged exposure to increased levels of carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous, so having your air quality consistently monitored while you sleep can help mitigate those risks.

Despite concerns about elevated levels of carbon monoxide, it is important to know that vehicles and gas appliances do let off CO, which is typically dispersed in the air enough to not have an impact on your health. However, if you have a carbon monoxide detector directly in your garage or kitchen, you may get false positive readings whenever you turn your car on or use your stove. Rather than putting a detector directly in those rooms, consider placing them in the entrance of a connecting room.

Make sure to account for the following rooms when installing carbon monoxide detectors:

  • Bedrooms
  • Home Office
  • Living Room
  • Dining Room
  • Playroom
  • Basement
  • At least one detector on every level of the house
  1. Install CO Detectors At the Correct Height

While smoke detectors are always installed towards your ceiling (as smoke rises), carbon monoxide detectors should not be placed at that height. CO is a denser gas, which means it does not rise but is more integrated with the air you breathe. The optimal placement of a carbon monoxide detector is at knee-level, or the approximate height of an individual sleeping on a bed. People are the most susceptible to carbon monoxide poisoning while they sleep, so ensuring the detectors are checking the air quality at that same height is important.

  1. Keep Your Vents Clean & Clear

In a lot of cases of carbon monoxide poisoning, the issue stems from a blockage or inability for the carbon monoxide gas to be dispersed. This can occur if you neglect the cleaning of ducts and vents that are connected to any appliance that gives off CO gas. Preventative maintenance is an important aspect of overall HVAC efficiency and safety, but ensuring your ducts and vents are clear is a vital step as well.

  1. Know the Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Even after taking the necessary precautions, it’s always good to know the signs and symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. If you have any concerns about symptoms, please consult with a physician or call 911.

The effects of carbon monoxide vary depending on the amount of exposure. Those affected by smaller amounts of carbon monoxide might experience frequent headaches, weakness, dizziness, and even confusion. In the event of a higher exposure, especially in enclosed rooms or spaces, carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness and can even be fatal. It’s important to be aware of you and your family’s health – if any of these symptoms occur, be sure to contact your physician.

Keeping your home safe from carbon monoxide poisoning by installing CO detectors correctly, keeping your vents and ducts clear, and knowing the signs of exposure can give you peace of mind for the health of you and your family. Give Max Mechanical a call for any questions pertaining to monitoring carbon monoxide levels in your home or other preventative measures.

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