Is carbon monoxide that dangerous?
Yes. More than 20,000 people every year visit the ER because of carbon monoxide poisoning. Of these, 4,000 are hospitalized and about 400 die as a direct result. Even those who don't die can suffer severe and long-lasting conditions as a result.
What are the symptoms?
Many families that suffer carbon monoxide poisoning think that they have food poisoning instead. The symptoms are similar: headaches, nausea, dizziness, vomiting, fatigue, and exhaustion. People become confused and disoriented. They can pass out or have a seizure.
People will NOT appear to turn blue. Carbon monoxide has a reddening effect that can cancel out the blue pallor that comes from oxygen deprivation. People may appear visually healthy, and there will rarely be visual signs that someone is suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning.
Can I fix the leak myself?
Only if you know where it is. Even then, you could have multiple leaks or a failed utility, and fixing one leak may not solve the problem. The fire department has the tools and knowledge to identify leaks, zero in on them, and determine the cause accurately. Rely on their response and expertise. It’s not worth it to DIY when your safety, and that of your family/friends, is at stake.
How do I call the fire department if I'm passing out?
This is the most difficult part of carbon monoxide detection. It sneaks up on you. If you're already suffering carbon monoxide poisoning, you may not be able to call the fire department yourself. Furthermore, many leaks occur at night. A carbon monoxide detector can warn you, but what if you sleep through it? This is why monitored carbon monoxide detection is best.
How does monitoring carbon monoxide detection work?
An alarm will trigger. A monitoring service will be able to call you as well as the fire department, assessing the situation and then notifying the department as to your needs. This way, if you're asleep or passed out, the monitoring service will still get the fire department there. This is especially useful, too, if you're not home and pets are at risk.
Wait! Pets are at risk?
Pets are especially at risk. Carbon monoxide is a danger to any animal. Smaller pets like birds and lizards are most at risk, but dogs and cats can die due to carbon monoxide poisoning. Remove them from any danger as best you can. By the time you notice anything wrong with them, you may be suffering carbon monoxide poisoning yourself.
Are vehicles in the garage a danger?
Yes! When you start a vehicle, make sure the garage is open. This allows carbon monoxide in the exhaust to exit the garage and dissipate. If you're warming up the vehicle, make sure to do so outside of the garage. Even an open garage is closed on three sides, top, and bottom, and can pose a danger of trapping the carbon monoxide.
What if the carbon monoxide alarm keeps going off?
Do not assume that it's just broken. Carbon monoxide isn't something we can sense. It's wiser to take the precaution, exit your home, and call the fire department.
Does opening the window help?
Opening a window gets fresh air in. It can help, and even save lives by providing access to oxygen, but it is not a solution. Under no circumstances should you spend time in a room with carbon monoxide poisoning simply because the window is open. It is not enough to solve the problem. The CO leak itself must be fixed.
How often should CO detectors be replaced?
A monitored system should be inspected regularly by the servicing company. Regular detectors should be tested monthly, inspected at least yearly, and replaced every five to seven years. This varies by manufacturer, so always make sure to read the label and follow it accordingly.
Does carbon monoxide detection impact my insurance premiums?
Yes! Combined with fire detection systems, a carbon monoxide detection system that's monitored can save you up to 20-percent in homeowner's insurance. Insurance companies feel much safer insuring you if you're taking precautions to guard against household dangers like carbon monoxide.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a real threat; with a monitored system, you can breathe easier.