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Carbon monoxide (CO) is a tasteless, odorless and colorless gas that occurs in minimal amounts naturally in the environment as a result of the deterioration of animal products. However, carbon monoxide is also produced in fuel burning devices, such as furnaces, boilers and water heaters. If these devices are operated in areas without proper ventilation, harmful and even fatal levels of CO can produce. Many happen in an effort to generate heat done improperly.
Low and moderate levels of CO poisoning can cause symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath and fatigue. Because these symptoms resemble those seen in minor illnesses such as the common cold or flu, they are often ignored. High-level exposure to CO can cause death in just a few minutes; each year there are more than 400 deaths nationally caused by non-fire, accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
You can get some protection with a store bought CO detector but they are not always capable of detecting low-level emissions. Here are some common types of CO detectors that are used:
- Digital Read-out. The most recommended for home use because they have a display panel that lets you see the current, and previous, carbon monoxide concentration in parts per million.
- Hard-wired. Connected directly to your building’s power supply, they come with battery backup and should be professionally installed.
- AC Plug-in. Detectors plugged directly into the electricity outlets in your home, they are convenient because there is no battery replacement needed.
- Combined Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors. These are detectors that have both smoke and carbon monoxide sensors. Not highly recommended because the best positioning of each type of detector varies. Smoke alarms are generally best placed on the ceiling, while the best position for a CO detector is on the wall.
While it is a great idea to install carbon monoxide detectors in your home or business, a better idea is to have a thorough CO assessment performed by trained, professional technicians with the proper equipment and certifications. This test will determine if there are any harmful levels of carbon monoxide present, where the source of it is and how to fix it. Call Dixie today to schedule a tune-up and prevent potentially dangerous carbon monoxide poisoning.