Carbon Monoxide Detectors: What They Do and Why You Need One

If you have appliances in your home that use gas for fuel (either natural gas or propane) it is vital that you have carbon monoxide detectors in your house to keep your family safe. 

What Is Carbon Monoxide?

  • Carbon monoxide (or CO) is a colorless, odorless gas that is poisonous when inhaled
  • It inhibits the body’s ability to carry oxygen, causing suffocation
  • It is a byproduct of combustion. Anything with a flame also puts out CO

What Types of Appliances Can Give off Carbon Monoxide?

Any fuel-burning appliances, (oil, natural gas, or propane) for example:

  • Gas-fueled water heaters
  • Gas dryers
  • Gas ovens
  • Gas stoves
  • Gas powered space heaters

These appliances must be properly installed and vented to ensure that no CO builds up in your home. However, even if they have been properly installed, it is important to protect your family from carbon monoxide poisoning by utilizing CO detectors. A failure in any of your safety systems can result in death if you don’t have working carbon monoxide detectors. 

Some CO detectors are combo units. A detector such as this combines smoke detection with CO detection. While you may assume that your smoke detectors have a CO alarm it’s important to find that out for a fact. If you’re not sure, adding another CO detector in your home is never a bad thing. Much like smoke alarms, CO alarms come in hardwired and battery-operated options. Hardwired options sometimes utilize a battery backup in case of a power outage, while battery-operated detectors should have their batteries changed once a year (daylight savings time is the traditional day to change those batteries.) Battery-operated CO detectors are easy to install and can be found at hardware stores like Brinkmann’s Hardware. From utilitarian styles to those with a digital display to show your CO levels or the date and time. Whichever you choose, CO detectors are a vital component to your home safety plan.