Your home should be the safest place for your family. You want to go to bed knowing your children are safe in their beds at the end of the day. You’ve likely taken measures to ensure that no harm comes to your family, such as smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, security systems, and childproof locks. But don’t forget about carbon monoxide detectors! Read on to learn everything you need to protect your family and keep your home safe in Northern Colorado.
The Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless gas produced by burning gas, wood, propane, charcoal, or other fuel. If you have any of these systems in your home, you must have a functional carbon monoxide detector to alert you to a leak. If enough carbon monoxide gas is released into your home, it can cause severe harm or even death to your pets and family members.
Mild exposure to carbon monoxide can cause headaches, nausea, dizziness, irregular breathing, drowsiness, and confusion. Mild symptoms are similar to flu symptoms but without a fever. Those with heart conditions may experience an increase in chest pain. Severe exposure to carbon monoxide (CO) causes brain damage and even death. Young children and the elderly are particularly susceptible.
The leading cause of CO poisoning is faulty heating devices used during cold weather. High levels of CO are virtually impossible to detect without a CO detector. In some cases, overexposed people simply fall asleep in their beds and never wake up.
If you think you or a family member has been exposed to CO, get outside immediately for fresh air and seek emergency medical help.
How to Keep Your Home Safe in Northern Colorado
Improperly ventilated appliances, particularly in enclosed spaces, may allow carbon monoxide to accumulate to dangerous levels. That’s why it’s crucial to ensure your devices are correctly installed and maintained regularly. Have professional service inspections on a timely basis to ensure that your appliances and chimney are in working order and are venting correctly. In addition, always follow the manufacturer’s directions when operating any appliance in your home.
- Never use an unvented combustion heater overnight or in a room where you are sleeping.
- Never use charcoal grills inside a home, tent, camper, or unventilated garage.
- Don’t leave vehicles running in a closed garage, even to “warm-up” a car on a cold morning.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide in Your Home
- Water heaters
- Furnaces or boilers
- Fireplaces, both gas, and wood-burning
- Gas stoves and ovens
- Motor vehicles
- Grills, generators, power tools, lawn equipment
- Wood stoves
- Tobacco smoke
How Often Should you Check your CO Detector?
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors every month. Most sensors have an easy-to-find “test” button. Simply hold down the test button for a few seconds. Change the batteries twice a year and replace the entire detector every five to seven years.
State Requirements for Homeowners
As a homeowner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your home is up to code. Colorado House Bill 1091 requires all residential properties to install carbon monoxide alarms. Specifically, the law requires that an operational carbon monoxide alarm be installed within 15 feet of the entrance to each bedroom (or other rooms lawfully used for sleeping purposes) or in any location otherwise specified by a state or local building code.
Get in touch if you have any questions or concerns about CO detectors or sources of carbon monoxide in your home. This article can serve as your monthly reminder to test your carbon monoxide alarms. It is a simple five-minute task that could end up saving a life!
Check out one of my recent blogs to read about more mistakes people make when buying a home.
I'm Lauren Haug! I'm a teacher-turned-real estate agent, and I teach people how to build wealth through real estate in Northern Colorado.
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