Carbon Monoxide (CO) is one of most deadly poisonous gases, and the most common. Produced by incomplete combustion processes when burning fuels like propane, natural gas, methane, and even wood products, carbon monoxide invades the oxygen in the body, replacing it, causing the bloodstream to be ridden with carbon monoxide, which can lead to death.
There are many symptoms that come before this including headache, dizziness, nausea, confusion, vomiting, incapacitation, and trouble breathing. It’s important to be aware of how carbon monoxide can affect the body so if these symptoms occur you’re better prepared. It’s also important to note that the flu can be easily confused with carbon monoxide poisoning. Some aspects that are different include confusion and difficulty thinking clearly, which goes along with carbon monoxide poisoning but not the flu. Additionally, the flu carries fever with it, so a simple test with a thermometer will help you figure out which is which. However, going straight to the doctor or ER if symptoms are sever enough is the safest, most effective way to treat these behaviors.
Installing a carbon monoxide detector is absolutely necessary in any residence, as the gas can’t be detected any other way. It’s odorless, colorless, extremely light (lighter than air), and can emit high levels quickly. There are several different methods of detection offered, as well, according to Grainger Technical Resources, including:
- Detector tubes, which alert you of instantaneous carbon monoxide in the air at any time through detection media. When the gas is detection inside the confines of the tube, detection software changes color to indicate the levels of carbon monoxide and determine the dose.
- Portable carbon monoxide detection sensors monitor the levels of carbon monoxide in any given space. They are usually digital and produce both audio and visual alarms to alert users of danger. These devices are handy in confined spaces or even for recreational activities, such as camping, where there are open flames and fuels being used.
- Fixed-location detectors are installed in the home or the workplace and monitor the continuous levels of carbon monoxide. They sound an alarm when gas levels are too high and can be used alongside home monitoring systems and other transmitters. Some are even capable of opening doors and windows when carbon monoxide levels are high to prevent serious injury or harm.
In-home detectors can be digital, like Nest’s version. This system uses WiFi to connect users to monitoring at all times. If carbon monoxide levels reach a dangerous level, the monitoring system will sound an alert and can even contact you via cell phone if you’re out of town or not home.
Regardless of which system you have, it’s important that you have at least one monitor in your home, preferably installed in common areas outside of the bedrooms. Without them, you’re at an increasingly high risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If you or a loved one is exhibiting symptoms of carbon monoxide, make sure to exit the home, get to a doctor or hospital, and check all your appliances to see if any are in poor condition. The more we use our household tools, like furnaces, clothes dryers, water heaters, gas-powered stoves and ranges, grills, and even cars, the more we’re producing this dangerous gas. Keep your home well ventilated, never burn charcoal indoors, and always be sure to have your appliances professionally installed and checked at least once a year. Dangerous gases can build up in things like fireplaces and chimneys, so it’s integral to have them cleaned and tested to ensure everything is running as it should.
And, as always, never be shy about reaching out to a home security professional with questions or concerns regarding the best options for you and your family.