Residential Plumbing & HVAC Experts

Winter Safety Check — Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can be fatal to people with exposure. It occurs in households when certain fuels, such as natural gas, propane, and coal, are not burned completely or vented properly, and can also be produced by items in your household or garage, such as cars, lawn mowers, and portable generators. Outfitting your home with carbon monoxide detectors is the best way to protect you and your family from this hazard.Low levels of carbon monoxide can cause nausea, headaches, and dizziness, while high levels can cause more severe symptoms, such as vomiting, confusion, loss of consciousness and even death.

Because it has no smell, how can you tell if carbon monoxide is seeping into your home? Through carbon monoxide detectors.

During the winter, houses tend to be more tightly sealed to keep out the cold and drafts and to keep warm air from escaping. People with gas-, propane- or oil-fired furnaces are also running them often, increasing the chance of a malfunction that might release CO. In cases where the power goes out, you may run replacement heaters that create carbon monoxide. Therefore, winter is an especially important time to make sure that your carbon monoxide detectors are in excellent working condition. Here’s what you can do to protect yourself:

  • Install your carbon monoxide detectors according to both the manufacturer’s instructions and local building codes. Place one where you keep power tools, especially when used in enclosed spaces, as well as in the garage and in hallways close to bedrooms. When in doubt, read the manual.
  • Make sure your detector meets the current UL 2034 safety standard.
  • Have a professional come to your home to inspect that the chimney, appliances, and heating systems are working properly. Invest in an annual maintenance plan to make sure your equipment is operating as intended.
  • Do not leave your car running in the garage even with the overhead door open, do not burn charcoal in your home, and do not run appliances, such as your stove or clothes dryer, to heat your home.
  • If you hear your CO alarm, go outside immediately and call your local emergency services.

Having well-placed and well-functioning carbon monoxide detectors in your San Diego area home doesn’t take a lot of effort but provides safety and peace of mind for you and your family. If you need professional advice or service for your carbon monoxide detectors, contact the experts in home comfort, Sherlock Plumbing, Heating & Air at (760) 206-4167. Locally owned and operated, our experience and knowledge will help you sleep soundly at night.