Carbon Monoxide Detectors - Where Does Carbon Monoxide Come From

CO is produced when any fuel is incompletely burned because of insufficient oxygen. Wood fires and charcoal grills produce large amounts of CO. Malfunctioning heating systems also produce CO.

Carbon monoxide is colorless and odorless. There is only one safe and reliable way to detect carbon monoxide in your home -- install a carbon monoxide alarm.

HOW CARBON MONOXIDE AFFECTS YOU

CO combines with hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying agent in the red blood cells. When oxygen is robbed from the brain and other organs, death can result. In addition, up to 40 percent of survivors of severe CO poisoning develop memory impairment and other serious illnesses.

Many cases of reported carbon monoxide poisoning indicate that victims are aware they are not well but become so disoriented that they are unable to save themselves.

HOW TO PREVENT CARBON MONOXIDE POISONING

The Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends every residence with fuel-burning appliances be equipped with at least one UL Listed CO alarm.

In addition, take the following measures:

  • Make sure appliances are installed and operated according to manufacturer's instructions.
  • Have the heating system, chimney and vents inspected and serviced annually.
  • Examine vents and chimneys regularly for improper connections, cracks, rust or stains.
  • Make sure to read your CO alarm's user's guide and keep it near your CO alarm for quick reference.

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Carbon Monoxide Detectors w/ PPM Displays and Battery Backup

Although all home carbon monoxide detectors use an audible alarm signal as the primary indicator, some versions also offer a digital readout of the CO concentration, in parts per million.

Typically, they can display both the current reading and a peak reading from memory of the highest level measured over a period of time.

The digital models offer the advantage of being able to observe levels that are below the alarm threshold, learn about levels that may have occurred during an absence, and assess the degree of hazard if the alarm sounds.

They may also aid emergency responders in evaluating the level of past or ongoing exposure or danger.