The silent killer, carbon monoxide(CO) is odorless and colorless. The symptoms of carbon monoxide exposure (nausea, headaches, dizziness and vomiting) can be confused with common illnesses, like flu. Human senses are simply not up to the task of detecting it. The only reliable way to detect carbon monoxide is installing carbon monoxide detectors.
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
Inhalation of CO, even in low amounts over time, will make the breather sick. CO poisoning effects are similar to flu at low levels, and in higher levels can render a person unconscious, immobilize and kill them. According to the CDC, an average of 430 people die every year from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning. The most common sources of carbon monoxide are malfunctioning fuel burning appliances like heaters, dryers and furnaces. Improperly maintained chimneys and flumes can also contribute elevated CO levels.
California Property Owners
California has new laws (SB 1394 and SB 745) enhancing laws requiring the installation of CO / Smoke detectors (SB 183). They were passed in January of 2014, and will be phased in by July of this year. Smoke detectors installed in CA after July 1, 2015 must:
- Be powered non-removable, 10 year batteries
- Display date of manufacture
- Display date of installation
- Have a hush feature
Install CO detectors on every floor, and adjacent to every sleeping area. Detectors should be tested annually, and have their batteries replaced on the same schedule. Do place detectors in rooms with fuel burning appliances, but avoid placing them directly above the appliance. Appliances like stoves or furnaces often give off a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start up, and a poorly placed alarm will become a nuisance. Make sure alarms are labelled UL standard 2034 compliant or meet Comprehensive Safety Analysis 6.19 safety standards.