25 Mar 2013

Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors Can Save Lives

Carbon Detectors are Important

Atlanta, Georgia – It’s odorless and invisible, but in large amounts, can kill in mere minutes. Every home should be equipped with a carbon monoxide detector to alert homeowners should an emergency arise.

“Carbon monoxide is created wherever gas, oil, wood, charcoal or kerosene is burned,” says Phil Montgomery, whose business Atlanta AC has provided exceptional HVAC service and maintenance for more than 40 years. “In homes with appliances that burn these types of fuel, it is essential that the appliance always remain in proper working order. If the appliance malfunctions, CO can be released into the airstream of unsuspecting homeowners.”

To know whether a family member may be experiencing carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to understand the symptoms. CO poisoning can cause dizziness, headaches, nausea and confusion. Low doses of carbon monoxide can result in milder symptoms, but can have lasting effects on the body. And because these symptoms are similar to those caused by the flu, they are especially dangerous because homeowners might not think carbon monoxide is responsible. Carbon monoxide can interfere with oxygen transport in the blood, causing the body to become oxygen-starved. This can result in tissue damage, and even death. Babies, children, expectant mothers and people with circulatory and respiratory issues are more susceptible to CO poisoning.

If you suspect someone in your home may be suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning, the most important thing to do is get fresh air immediately into the area. Open all windows in the home, turn off any combustion appliances and leave the house.

Visit an emergency room to have a blood test done to determine if CO poisoning has occurred. The doctor will most likely ask several questions to find out if symptoms occur only in the home, if they disappear when you leave home, if anyone else in the household is complaining of symptoms, if there are fuel burning appliances in the home, and if fuel burning appliances have been inspected lately.

There are several ways carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented. Homeowners should be sure their fuel burning appliances are inspected every year to maintain proper function.

“The winter may be drawing to a close,” says Montgomery, whose business serves the greater Atlanta area and provides Air Condition repair. “But it’s still important for homeowners to remember that their fuel burning and other appliances should have a furnace check-up visit by a trained professional once a year to be sure the unit is working properly and all fumes are able to be properly vented.”

One of the best ways to protect your family is to install a carbon monoxide detector. The detector will trigger an alarm based on CO accumulating over time. Detectors typically need a continuous power supply so they will work in the event of a power outage. Different detectors alert in different ways and depend on how the level of carbon monoxide is measured.

Carbon monoxide is lighter than air and is typically found with warm, rising air. A detector should be placed on a wall, several feet above the floor. It may also be placed on the ceiling. It should never be placed near a fireplace or appliance that produces a flame. In homes with more than one floor, a detector should be placed on each floor. Be sure the detector is either close enough to bedrooms or has a loud enough alarm that it can be heard even while sleeping.

Most importantly, homeowners should not ignore the alarm if it go off. The detector is designed to alert homeowners before symptoms are felt, as CO poisoning can cause lasting effects, even with mild symptoms. If the alarm goes off, get everyone out of the home, ventilate the home and call 911 if anyone is experiencing symptoms. If no one is experiencing symptoms, schedule a maintenance check as soon as possible to determine the source of the leak.

There are some things to remember about carbon monoxide detectors, however. They are designed to protect healthy adults, so the ages and health of all family members in the home should always be taken into account when determining the effectiveness of a detector. The average CO detector will last around two years, so they should be replaced regularly. Look for one with a battery backup so that it will still work in the case of a power outage.

Even though the cooling air of winter is fading into spring, it’s never too early to schedule an appointment to have your heating or air conditioning units serviced, and now is the perfect time to install a carbon monoxide detector. Not only can having properly working units save you money on your energy bill, it might just save your life.

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