Carbon Monoxide (CO2) is often referred to as the “silent killer.” It’s the number one cause of poisoning deaths in North America. Every year, many Canadians die and hundreds are hospitalized from carbon monoxide poisoning. Many of those people are permanently disabled as a result of exposure. You can’t see or smell carbon monoxide, but at heightened levels it can kill a person within minutes.
This lethal gas isn’t just a winter threat from stoves and heaters. It’s a potential killer year-round– a threat that can be emitted from a pretty long list of everyday fuel-burning appliances: automobiles, boats, lawn mowers, camp stoves and propane grills all contain carbon monoxide.
If you’re a condo or apartment-dweller living in an in an all-electric unit with a detached garage, don’t be lulled into a false sense of security! Everyone is at Risk. 88% of all homes have something that poses a carbon monoxide threat.
You can be even be poisoned by your neighbor who decides to use a charcoal grill or another gas-burning appliance. It’s distressing to think that your friendly neighbor’s inattentiveness can kill you, but it’s important to know that once the carbon monoxide is in the building envelope, it can silently seep from unit to unit in through porous drywall.
The good news is that when fuel-burning appliances are maintained and properly used, the amount of CO2 produced isn’t usually hazardous. But it’s a smart move to install a carbon monoxide alarm or a CO2 detector in your home. It’s also the law in some provinces.
It’s important to have these products installed by a professional, and that they be tested and replaced by a professional periodically. Sensors on carbon monoxide detectors wear away over time. Expect your unit to last at least five years. If it’s older than that, contact AJ’s Electrical right away.
Here are 7 important things to know about carbon monoxide alarm or a CO2 detectors:
- Exposure to moderate levels of ethyl acetate (nail polish remover), isopropyl alcohol (rubbing alcohol), cleaning chemicals and other common household substances can set off the alarm. Keep these as far away as possible from CO2 alarms. Even low exposure over an extended period could damage the sensing device and cause it to sound a false alarm. Many people have died because they became so accustomed to false alarms that they failed to respond to a real alarm.
- Alarms need to be loud! Is your current devices certified by Underwriters Laboratories (UL)? Does it have a minimum 85-decibel horn that can be heard within 10 feet?
- How are your current carbon monoxide detectors installed? Are they hardwired, or plugged into an outlet or battery operated? Some plug-in and hardwired units use batteries as a backup during a power failure and will not operate if batteries aren’t installed.
- Are your detectors interconnected? Interconnecting units communicate with one another. When one alarm detects a hazard, it triggers them all to sound an alarm. To work properly, all units must be made by the same manufacturer.
- How many alarms do you need? You should have one installed in a central location outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
- Nothing lasts forever. As we mentioned, your CO2 detector should last five years. Better models have a low-battery alert, as well as a warning feature to let you know when the entire unit needs to be replaced.
- Do your detectors meet all safety standards? Make sure they’re certified by an independent testing agency such as Underwriters Laboratories or Canadian Standards Association.
AJ’s is happy to advise you on all aspects of installation, maintenance and repair of CO2 detectors. For safety and peace of mind, call us at 604-946-8946, email us or fill out our online contact form.