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Indoor Air Quality, Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

It is strongly recommended that all homes have functioning carbon monoxide detectors to notify you when there is an unsafe level of carbon monoxide in the air.


What is Carbon Monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless gas found in fumes produced any time you burn fuel in cars or trucks, stoves, grills, fireplaces, gas ranges, furnaces, and similar devices. It is extremely harmful to people and animals who breathe it because it prevents your blood from carrying oxygen to your cells. Increased levels within an enclosed area can lead to poisoning or death, so having a carbon monoxide detector installed in your home can help save your life. If the alarm sounds, you’ll know to evacuate the home and call for help.

What is the job of a carbon monoxide detector?

  • Monitors level of carbon monoxide in the air
  • Sounds the alarm when the amount exceeds safe levels

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

It is strongly recommended for all occupied homes to have carbon monoxide detectors installed.

It is especially important for homes with equipment like furnaces, stoves, generators, and gas water heaters to install carbon monoxide detectors to help prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Help prevent a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide in your home by following these steps:

  • Install carbon monoxide detectors to alert you of a dangerous buildup of carbon monoxide
  • Keep areas around fuel-burning devices clear to ensure air movement and ventilation
  • Conduct regular cleaning and maintenance of your fuel-burning devices
  • Have your HVAC system and any other gas-, oil-, or coal-burning equipment serviced by a qualified technician on a regular basis
  • Do not burn anything in a fireplace with a closed damper
  • Do not heat your home with a gas stove
  • Do not use generators, charcoal grills, or other fuel-burning devices inside a closed space like a garage, basement, or elsewhere inside your home
  • Do not run a car inside a garage that is attached to your home, even if the garage door is open

Maintaining a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Once you install a carbon monoxide detector, follow these steps to make sure it works and provides the best protection possible:

  • Ensure the detector is between 15-20 feet away from a source of carbon monoxide, like a fireplace or furnace, because low levels of carbon monoxide present nearby may trigger the alarm unnecessarily
  • Ensure nothing is covering or blocking the detector
  • Ensure the detector is not near a window or door
  • Test the detector on a regular basis
  • Vacuum the detector monthly to remove dust and dirt that may clog the sensor. Be sure not to clean with any chemicals or solvents as that can damage the sensor.
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