Carbon monoxide poisoning is both a stealthy and deadly threat inside any enclosed structure, including your home. This colorless, odorless and tasteless gas is responsible for more than 200 deaths and 5,000 hospitalizations annually, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. Many deaths due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning in homes occurred while the residents were sleeping. Carbon monoxide (CO) gas is a natural product of the process of combustion of substances such as gasoline, natural gas, wood and other flammable fuels. The average residence may contain three potential interior sources of CO gas: a gas stove, water heater and a gas-fired furnace. In addition, external sources such as vehicles in attached garages can introduce this dangerous gas into the home.
Symptoms of exposure to CO gas may mimic any number of common illnesses such as the flu. Headaches, nausea and fatigue are typical early symptoms. Continuous low-level exposure can cause chronic health conditions and even very brief exposure to acute levels of CO gas can cause death in minutes.
All household CO detectors emit a piercing alarm when dangerous levels are detected.
- Battery-powered detectors offer greater options for installation in areas of the home where an AC outlet may not exist. These models tend to lack display options that show the current levels of CO in the home or record recent readings. In addition, the battery/sensor module in battery-powered carbon monoxide detectors requires replacement at two- to three-year intervals at additional cost.
- Plug-in detectors may not offer the installation flexibility of battery-operated models. However, detectors that utilize AC power usually include an active LCD display that shows the current level of CO in the home. Users can also access a memory of recent readings of CO levels to evaluate the longer term trends of exposure in the home. These units are generally maintenance-free and have a service life of up to 10 years.
Comfort Systems is the Wichita homeowner’s choice for heating, air conditioning and plumbing expertise. Ask us for more information about ensuring a safe environment in your home with carbon monoxide detectors.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide poisoning and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.