Where To Place A Carbon Monoxide Detector At Home
It is quite essential to have knowledge about the appropriate and precise placement of a carbon monoxide detector. Carbon monoxide is the topmost cause of poisoning death in the United States, and more than 20,000 people are sent to the emergency room every year.
Carbon monoxide is a highly poisonous gas produced when the fuels are incompletely burnt, including gas, wood, oil, and coal. It can happen kitchen appliances such as cookers, ovens, and boilers are fitted incorrectly, not maintained in a proper manner, or in case if their vents become get blocked. Along with gas-burning products, any appliance that burns fuel can pose or produce carbon-monoxide, including oil-fired boilers, heaters, and fires.
Hard to detect gas
Since carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless, it is pretty hard to detect its leakage. That’s why it is crucial to have a working carbon monoxide detector in your home. Unlike smoke detectors, the law doesn’t require CO detectors unless you live in one of these 26 states where all homes should have working CO detectors.
Even if not required by law, it is the most effective and easiest way to prevent CO poisoning. However, according to the Gas Safe Register, there does exist some tell-tale sign that you need to keep your eye on which include:
- If you happen to see yellow or orange gas cooker flames, then there could be a carbon monoxide presence, as gas flames should always be bright blue.
- If the appliance has soot or yellow/ brown staining around them.
- Flickering of boiler pilot’s lights inconsistently, blowing out frequently.
- If there is a higher than usual level of condensation on windows.
However, you don’t entirely have to rely on the warning as mentioned above, since to protect yourself fully, you need to have a carbon monoxide detector around.
Placement of the carbon monoxide detector
While a carbon monoxide detector can be purchased as a standalone device or part of a full home security system, it is crucial to place it in your house strategically. There needs to be at least one detector installed on every floor, including the basement and even garage, if it is attached to your home. It is essential to establish a carbon monoxide detector right outside or inside of the bedroom or sleeping area as the effects of carbon monoxide are quite impossible to detect while sleeping.
If the detector spots CO, then the alarm will go off and wake you up. Some points to keep in mind while installing a sensor are stated below:
Placing a detector in a spacious area: Place an indicator in every room containing a fuel-burning appliance, or in a central location, such as a landing or in a hallway.
Install the CO detectors at knee height:
It would be best if you made sure that the alarm is situated at head height or a breathing level, but it doesn’t have to be stuck to the wall. It could be placed on a shelf, table, or bookcase, but you should not put it on the ceiling as CO blends with air in the home and does not rise. Remember to keep pets and kids in mind while installing.
Keeping away from places that abstain its working:
Don’t place it behind furniture, in cupboards, or outside the door and ventilation equipment like extractor fans, as this placement will prevent it from working efficiently.
Away from condensation:
Keep the detector or alarm at a distance from high condensed areas, such as next to cooker hobs, washrooms, or washbasins.
Test the detector regularly:
To ensure that your detector is working correctly, test the sensor frequently, as you would do with a smoke alarm, and replace the detector’s batteries as soon as the low battery warning goes off. Most of the indicators are a one-press test button that shines a light or having an alarm sound that ensures that the detector is working correctly.
Follow your manufacturer’s manual:
Please read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions on placing, testing, and servicing, always, and paying attention to any notes stated regarding its battery life and when the battery needs to be replaced.
Keep the detector cleaned:
You have to ensure that your detector is free of dirt, dust, and other particles that may inhibit the radar from spotting and alerting you of carbon monoxide. Wipe the sensor with a clean cloth and vacuum it at least once a year.
The detecting mechanisms in CO detectors need to stay at stabilizing enough temperatures and humidities for its efficient working. Keep indicators out of direct sunlight, and away from fixtures that generate heat like lights, appliances, and radiators and away from extremely humid areas like laundry rooms and bathrooms. Pay attention to airflow too, that is, don’t mount CO detectors by the windows that are often opened or in some dead air places.
Do not cover the detectors:
Keep the detectors hung out in the open and away from drapes or curtains, shelves, and furniture that could potentially block them or interfere with normal airflow to the sensors.
Easy to test:
Make your carbon monoxide gas detectors easy to test that places them in areas where they are easily accessible and have them checked every six months or so and adopt a habit of replacing them when the manufacturer recommends it. Most of the carbon monoxide detectors are good to go for about five years.
If you have an attached garage, you have to ensure that the detector is mounted inside the house within 10 feet of the door to the garage. Levels of Carbon monoxide gas at home can quickly be escalated by a running car.
What steps to take if you experience symptoms of carbon monoxide
- Get fresh air that instant, turn off the combustible and gas appliances. Open all windows and doors and leave the house.
- Immediately go to the hospital or your doctor so they can carry out a breath or blood test.
- If you suspect an immediate danger, then call the National Gas Emergency.
- Get a Gas Safe registered engineer to have all your appliances checked and fixed.
Importance of CO detectors:
There should be a CO detector in every home because the carbon monoxide gas has no odor, color, and taste, making it impossible to identify its presence without an alarm installed.
The sensors in CO alarms respond based on the concentration of the carbon monoxide gas in the air. That is, the higher the concentration, the faster signal will respond. For low levels of CO, it might take the alarm an hour or so to respond. On higher levels, the alarm detects them in as little as 4 minutes. High levels of exposure bring symptoms quickly, so it is vital to take measures.
Most common carbon monoxide dangers are found at home, making alarms even more vital.
Types of equipment such as space heaters, furnaces, back-drafting from unvented appliances, generators, gas stoves, and other gasoline-powered equipment, and exhausts from attached garages are familiar sources of poisonous carbon monoxide death.
Warning signs of CO poisoning:
When carbon monoxide reaches an unhealthy level, people start to experience flu-like symptoms like headaches, weakness, dizziness, vomiting, and fatigue. According to the CDC, CO poisoning is a leading cause of death at home and especially dangerous for children, the elderly, and individuals with respiratory or breathing issues.
The more exposure to the poisonous gas, the more serious its symptoms get and can extend to a rapid heart rate, confusion, and a pounding head. With prolonged exposure in more copious amounts, CO becomes even more dangerous, causing unconsciousness and, ultimately, death.
Unfortunately, these symptoms can be seen in many other illnesses, and people may not associate it with carbon monoxide poisoning. Installing a CO detector will help prevent disease and death by alerting you to a dangerous level, and you can seek help in time.
How To Stay GAS Safe
Some simple measures to make sure that you are not affected by the poisonous gas are:
- Before buying any new appliances, you should read customer and safety reviews.
- Make sure that the engineer installing new devices is registered with the Gas Safety Register.
- Make sure to get the gas appliances serviced every year to have them run as they are supposed to. If you rent a place, your landlord should see it happens.
- The supplier of your gas may provide a free safety check if you meet specific criteria, such as being chronically sick, disabled, or of pensionable age.
Do carbon dioxide detectors operate differently than smoke alarms?
Although both the CO detector and smoke alarm may look and sound quite similar, they are intended and designed in a way to detect two separate and distinct hazards. Hence, to keep your family safe and away from these occurrences, it is essential to install both UL-listed carbon monoxide alarm and smoke detectors.
Nothing is terrifying than an enemy that cannot be seen. CO and other gasses are the cause of many deaths in America. A carbon monoxide detector plays a crucial part in keeping your family safe in an apartment, home, and overall health. Cautious measures should be taken while installing it.