Carbon monoxide (CO) is harmful because it deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Large amounts of CO can overcome a person in minutes, causing them to lose consciousness and suffocate. Since CO has no odor, color, or taste, it cannot be detected by the senses. This means that dangerous concentrations of the gas can build up indoors and humans cannot detect the problem until they become ill. Furthermore, the early symptoms of CO poisoning are like the flu, which can cause victims to ignore the signs. The most common symptoms felt are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion.
Per the CDC, each year more than 400 Americans die from unintentional CO poisoning not linked to fires, more than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized.
What are the potential sources of CO in your home?
Homes with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages are more likely to have CO accumulation problems. Some common sources of CO are:
- Clothes dryers
- Water heaters
- Fireplaces, both gas, and wood-burning
- Gas stoves and ovens
- Motor vehicles
- Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
- Wood stoves
- Tobacco smoke
When appliances and vents work properly and there is enough fresh air in your home to allow complete combustion, the trace amounts of CO remaining are safely vented outside your home. Problems occur when an appliance malfunctions. For example, a furnace heat exchanger cracks, vents clog, or debris blocks the chimney or flue.
What can you do to ensure the safety of your family, pets, and friends?
- Install a CO alarm as recommended by the National Fire Prevention Association (NFPA). Install a battery-operated or a plugin alarm with battery back-up on every level of the home – including the basement. Consider buying a detector with a digital readout. This detector can tell you the highest level of CO concentration in your home. Check or replace the battery when you change the time on your clocks each spring and fall and replace your CO detector every five years.
- Inspect the pilot lights on natural gas appliances to ensure that the flame is blue. When a flame is mostly yellow, it likely is producing CO.
- When you buy gas equipment, buy only equipment carrying the seal of a national testing agency, such as Underwriters’ Laboratories, and have it serviced by a qualified technician each year.
- Make sure your gas appliances are vented properly. Horizontal vent pipes for appliances, such as a water heater, should angle up slightly. This prevents CO from leaking even if the joints or pipes don’t fit tightly.
- If you have a fireplace, have your chimney checked or cleaned every year. Chimneys can be partially blocked by debris and this can cause CO to build up inside your home.
- Don’t use outdoor equipment inside – like chemical heaters, camp stoves, or charcoal grills.
- Never use a generator inside your home, basement, or garage or less than 20 feet from any window, door, or vent.
- Never leave a car running in a garage — even for a couple of minutes with the overhead garage door open.
Protecting your Family 24/7 — Monitored CO detection
Adding a monitored CO detector outside the bedrooms ensures that the fire department will be called — even if everyone is asleep or drowsy due to the lack of oxygen. When notified of a CO leak, the fire department will react differently than if responding to a smoke alarm and the home will be searched for non-responsive individuals.
A Secur-Tek security system has a backup battery to maintain security and detection for 20-24 hours if fully charged during the event of a power failure. Your keypad will display when the battery needs to be replaced. For instructions on changing battery: Frequently Asked Questions about Home Security Systems (secur-tek.com)
Secur-Tek, Inc. gives you total confidence that your family is protected from CO poisoning 24/7, and we can also design, install, and monitor specialized monitoring systems to fit your specific needs.
- Monitoring Children – If you have teenagers or children old enough to be home alone, remote access will allow you to be notified when they get home from school. You can use specialized security codes for each child as well as babysitters and view activity in the interior and exterior of your home for extra peace of mind.
- Monitoring Elderly Parents – If you need to monitor an elderly parent, you can be notified when they get up out of bed, open the medicine cabinet or when there is no activity in the home.
- Keeping an eye on Pets – Our technicians will put the cameras in places so you can check in on your pets. Temporary security codes for pet sitters will help give you greater peace of mind that your pet is doing okay.
- Detecting Water Leaks – When you are not home, even a slow leak can cause serious flooding and expensive damage. Adding a water leak detector so you will be alerted if this happens can minimize the damage. Our monitored smart system can even turn off a water shutoff to minimize damage.
Affiliated Monitoring is certified by the following organizations:
- CSAA Five Diamond Certified – The Monitoring Association Five Diamond Certificate signifies compliance and assurance that an alarm system has followed guidelines established by best-industry practice. The certificate recognizes best practices utilizing existing standards.
- UL Listed — UL listed monitoring centers use the most up-to-date technologies. UL is the trusted resource across the globe for product safety certification and compliance solutions. The UL Certificate is proof that Affiliated’s listed alarm systems meet the stringent standards of the UL.
- IQ Certified – The IQ (Installation Quality) Certification Program gives consumers a way to identify alarm companies that are committed to providing them with high-quality security and life safety systems.
For more information, please call us at (919) 387-1800 or scroll down and use the form below.