If you’ve strolled down the safety aisle at your local big box store, you might have noticed a lot more than smoke detectors. Sure, there are a variety of options available for replacing this life-saving device, but it’s not the only one. Carbon monoxide detectors - CO monitors, are equally as important.
A CO monitor measures traces of carbon monoxide in the air supply. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that is impossible to detect with your own senses. For many, by the time they anticipate they have a problem, it’s too late.
Carbon monoxide starts by displaying flu-like symptoms. People often experience dizziness, weakness, headaches, and chest pains. Nausea, stomach aches, and vomiting can also come with it. Carbon monoxide attaches to the hemoglobin in your body; this is what carries oxygen to the blood. The more CO, the less oxygen, and the more dangerous it becomes. That’s why it’s often listed as the silent killer; if you’re already asleep, you have no idea of the impact on your body.
That’s why it's imperative that you have a carbon monoxide detector to wake you up.
Carbon monoxide is produced as a byproduct of burning fuel. It can come from something as natural as burning wood or starting up your barbeque grill. It also comes from using gas furnaces or fireplaces.
In most cases, these appliances are very efficient at doing their job. They have safety features in place that prevent CO from entering the air supply. The problem is like everything, occasionally equipment breaks down and doesn’t work as it should.
One of the most common problems involves venting.
It could be an ongoing problem if the ventilation system in your home was never installed correctly.
It could be a new problem, if your system is old and wearing down and has leaks and cracks, or a bird or squirrel got into your home and built a nest.
If your carbon monoxide detector alerts you to a problem, action is key. First and foremost, get you and your family to safety. Only then should you call in a professional to handle the problem immediately.