It’s important that any home you put on the Colorado housing market be safe for anyone to live in. That means making sure prospective new owners aren’t in danger of getting carbon monoxide poisoning. Here’s what you should know about carbon monoxide (CO).
What Is Carbon Monoxide?
It’s a poisonous gas with no odor, color, or taste. You’re unable to detect it on with your normal senses.
Where Does It Come From?
It’s produced when you burn products like kerosene or wood. It can be found in homes with gas stoves or fireplaces. The gas can also enter the home when auto exhaust comes in from a garage attached to a house.
Why Is It Dangerous?
It gets into your bloodstream, draining it of oxygen needed by vital organs. It overwhelms you quickly, causing loss of consciousness and eventual suffocation.
How Can You Protect Yourself?
It helps to have sufficient ventilation throughout your home. Carbon monoxide detectors keep you alerted to the possible presence of CO.
How Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Help?
Carbon monoxide detectors measure the levels of CO in a home. Some have alarms that go off when the CO in your home increases to a dangerous degree. You can find detectors that plug into an electric socket, run on batteries, or adhere to the wall, ceiling, or other structure.
Opto-chemical – These detectors have a pad soaked in a chemical that changes colors when CO is detected. These can be found cheaper than other detectors, but also offer a lower level of protection against accidental CO poisoning. There’s no alarm, so you need to constantly check it for any color changes.
Biomimetic – These detectors contain a gel pack of synthetic hemoglobin that changes colors when it picks up on the presence of CO absorbed from the air, triggering an alarm. It’s best to replace the gel pack every few years since they’re susceptible to getting contaminated and generating false alarms.
Semiconductor – An electrical current generated by an internal semiconductor – made of tin dioxide – increases when the semiconductor comes into contact with CO gas. These types of detectors require very little maintenance.
Electrochemical – These detectors also measure changes in CO levels with electricity. The current gets generated by internal electrodes submerged in a special chemical solution. They respond immediately if CO is present, and run for up to five years on one set of batteries.
Where’s The Best Place To Put A Carbon Monoxide Detector?
Here are some best practices to follow when placing CO detectors around your home.
- Multi-level homes should have a CO detector on every floor. It’s possible for the gas to accumulate on one level, and for a different level to be completely clear.
- Most people fall victim to CO poisoning when they’re asleep. Keep a CO detector in each bedroom. That way you’ll be woken up by the alarm if gas levels suddenly spike in the middle of the night or when you’re taking an afternoon nap.
- If your home has an attached garage, it’s a good idea to place a detector within 10 feet of the garage door.
- Don’t place detectors too close to sources of carbon monoxide. This elevates the risk false readings.