Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be fatal when inhaled in high concentrations. It is produced by incomplete combustion of fuels like natural gas, propane, wood, and gasoline. Carbon monoxide poisoning can happen in homes with malfunctioning appliances, poorly ventilated spaces, or blocked chimneys. To prevent this deadly gas from going undetected, homeowners can install carbon monoxide alarms.
Why Do You Need a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
Carbon monoxide is known as the “silent killer” because it cannot be detected by human senses. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to those of the flu, including headache, dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. High levels of carbon monoxide can cause unconsciousness, brain damage, and death. A carbon monoxide alarm can alert you and your family to the presence of this gas and give you time to evacuate the area.
What Does a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Sound Like?
A carbon monoxide alarm emits a loud and continuous beep when it detects carbon monoxide in the air. The sound is designed to be distinguishable from other household alarms, such as smoke detectors, so that you can tell which one is going off. Some carbon monoxide alarms also have a digital display that shows the level of carbon monoxide detected in parts per million (ppm).
What Should You Do When the Carbon Monoxide Alarm Goes Off?
If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, it is important to take immediate action. Do not ignore the alarm or try to silence it. Follow these steps:
- Open all doors and windows to ventilate the area.
- Turn off all gas appliances and heaters.
- Evacuate the area and call 911 or the local fire department.
- Do not re-enter the area until it has been cleared by a professional.
How Often Should You Test Your Carbon Monoxide Alarm?
You should test your carbon monoxide alarm at least once a month to make sure it is working properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for testing and maintenance. Replace the batteries every six months or as recommended by the manufacturer. Replace the entire unit every five to seven years.
Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas that can go undetected without a carbon monoxide alarm. The alarm emits a loud and continuous beep when it detects carbon monoxide in the air. If your carbon monoxide alarm goes off, take immediate action by ventilating the area, turning off gas appliances, evacuating, and calling for help. Test your carbon monoxide alarm regularly and replace it every five to seven years to ensure your safety.