Carbon Monoxide — The Silent Killer In Your Home

Dwayne Smolnicky blog

Each year many people die from unintentional CO poisoning. Even more will visit the emergency room and be hospitalized due to CO poisoning. Fatality is highest among people 65 and older. Sadly, the number of deaths from carbon monoxide poisoning continues to rise yearly.

Here is a quick list of symptoms, causes and what to do when the alarm sounds.

Carbon monoxide, also known as the silent killer, is an odorless and colorless gas produced by many house hold appliances that use combustion.
Carbon monoxide can be produced by the following:
– stoves
– lanterns
– burning charcoal and wood
– gas ranges and heating systems.

Many people mistake the symptoms of CO poisoning for coming down with the flu.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide include:
– Headache
– Nausea
– Dizziness
– Vomiting
– Confusion

Surprisingly most homes do not have a carbon monoxide alarms. Standard fire alarms are placed on the ceiling and do not detect carbon monoxide that does not rise to the ceiling. It’s safe to say that most people are unfamiliar with the sound of a carbon monoxide alarm. For this reason it is important to know that when your CO detector goes off it will emit a universal pattern of high pitch chirps, not beeps. The sound will be much like a smoke detector when the battery needs to be changed. NEVER assume a alarm is broken or low on power; “fixing” the alarm should never be a priority. Always assume the alarm is functioning as intended. When this alarm sounds it means the gas has been leaking and has reached a dangerous level.

First thing – DO NOT ignore the beeping of the alarm!!
follow these steps immediately:

– Call 9-1-1 — seek medical help symptoms can become dangerous fast.
– DO NOT re-enter the home until emergency services have indicated it is safe to return.

Staying on top of Alarm maintenance is more then just replacing batteries and running a test every month. It is recommended to replace your alarm units every 10 years no matter the circumstances. Be aware of your alarm models and be on the look out for recalls.
Recently 1.5 million Kidde NightHawk smoke detector, carbon monoxide alarms have been recalled. Here is a link to check if you have a recalled detector – Kidde Nighthawk Recall List