Protecting Yourself From Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Carbon monoxide is sometimes referred to as the "silent killer" because people who experience carbon monoxide poisoning often do not know it. A carbon monoxide alarm can give you the time you need to evacuate your home when it becomes necessary.

Regular inspection and maintenance of your furnace and chimney combined with a carbon monoxide alarm can help reduce the risks of carbon monoxide poisoning. Any indoor heating source can cause a carbon monoxide gas problem in your building.

 Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Since carbon monoxide gas is colorless and odorless, watching for possible symptoms in addition to inspections and a carbon monoxide alarm is important. The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are often mistaken as the flu but there will be no accompanying fever. Here are the indicators to watch for:

  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Breathing is Irregular

Especially if these symptoms vanish when moving outside the building, you should follow your local emergency procedures for carbon monoxide poisoning.

Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Choosing a carbon monoxide alarm one that actually works is an important step in making your home safe from carbon monoxide poisoning. Consider the following points as you shop:

  • Select a carbon monoxide alarm that is certified by the standards of a testing laboratory;
  • Research the effectiveness of a model with consumer safety reports;
  • Check to see if the manufacturer has recalled or replaced any units;
  • Do not assume that a higher price increases effectiveness in detecting carbon monoxide;
  • Battery backup is the most important feature and which you should not do without. Other features such as digital displays are useful but not essential.

You may wish to purchase a combined smoke and carbon monoxide alarm to save money over separate units. Regardless, when you do your monthly smoke detector test include your carbon monoxide alarm as well and change the batteries for both units about every six months.


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