We seem to have an increasing situation of or at least awareness of carbon monoxide in the home. State legislatures are making laws requiring all homeowners to have carbon monoxide detectors in their houses, and also requiring all tenant housing and public housing areas to have CO alarms. Whether or not this is evidence of an increased amount of carbon monoxide production isn’t certain, but it is definitely an indication that there is a growing need to be aware of this condition. Years ago it became required by law to have smoke detectors in homes because of the risk of fires, and before long it may be required to have smoke detectors in every home. But even if it’s not a requirement by law to have detectors in the home, CO can have consequences that are too horrible to speak of. Let’s consider some of the ways to be prepared to prevent or deal with this disaster.
Knowing Causes of CO in the Home
Carbon monoxide is caused by many home devices, including kitchen devices, heaters, and more. In particular, it is caused by faulty devices or devices that are not being used properly. You may be using functional devices but in an incorrect manner that is causing them to burn the fuel inefficiently and produce an excess of CO gas. Make sure to read all instructions carefully for the proper operation of such devices, and have them inspected on a regular basis – at least once per year! – to make sure that there aren’t problems with the device’s ability to burn fuel.
Because CO can be caused by so many things, it is important to have at least one CO alarm installed in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors can detect the presence of CO in the home, alerting you to the problem with a ringing. Some detectors are digital and can tell you the exact concentration of CO in ppm, but ones that only respond with a ringing will also let you know when there might be a danger to your health. These devices should be placed at least once on every floor of the house or near (or within) every room used for sleeping in.
Responding to CO Exposure
You may find that there is CO in your home, just at a low enough level that it didn’t alert your detector for a while. Chronic exposure to low levels of CO can also cause you long-term health complications, so make sure to check your CO detector frequently for indications of the gas’s presence. In addition, if you are alerted to the presence of CO in your home, your first response must be to get everyone outside of the home as quickly as possible. This will help them to breathe in fresh air and help combat the production of carboxyhemoglobin in their blood. Then call the fire department to get the home inspected and call your doctor to get yourself inspected. If any individuals are unresponsive or experience serious symptoms of CO poisoning such as seizures, disorientation, confusion, increased heart rate or decreased blood pressure, or vomiting, then take them to the emergency room. These steps are very important for responding to carbon monoxide in the home.