Winter’s Silent Threat: The Crucial Role of Carbon Monoxide Detectors in Protecting Your Home

Winter weather often means you’re trying to stay warm and toasty indoors. Many individuals use some type of gas or gas combination unit to heat their home or business. This is often an efficient way to keep warm but with any type of gas it’s imperative to make sure you have a Carbon Monoxide detector.

What is Carbon Monoxide? Carbon Monoxide, often referred to as CO2, is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is produced when fuels like gas, oil, coal, and wood do not burn completely. Breathing in carbon monoxide can be extremely dangerous and even fatal. Signs of CO2 poising include headache, flu like symptoms, dizziness, weakness, confusion, fatigue and more. Unfortunately, it’s often too late, especially in the nighttime hours when you’re asleep, to recognize that you may have a CO2 leak in your home based on symptoms. But there are ways to make sure you’re prepared.

Where is CO2 Used? Any appliances that use fuels such as gas, oil, coal, or wood are susceptible to carbon monoxide leaks. If you have a furnace, stove, water heater or even gas logs and they’re not properly maintained or ventilated, you could be exposed to this deadly gas. Many of our repair calls lead our technicians to uncover a hole in the heat exchanger or even a faulty furnace with a small crack that can allow CO2 to sneak into your home.

Prevention & Preparedness. While we can’t always prevent faulty appliances, there are several ways to prepare your family, home, or business. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, each floor of your home needs a separate carbon monoxide detector. “If you are getting a single carbon monoxide detector, place it near the sleeping areas and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake you up.” They also advise following the manufacturer’s instructions for proper installation when you purchase your detector. Just like smoke detectors (which should be installed in addition to a CO2 detector), the alarms should be tested regularly and cleaned as instructed in the manufacturer’s guide. If you have a battery-operated unit, test it weekly and change the batteries at least once a year.

As far as your heating and air conditioning units are concerned, one way to prevent faulty equipment is to schedule a semiannual maintenance agreement. While this doesn’t take the place of installing CO2 detectors, these routine appointments allow our technicians to inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, tighten connections and much more! As always, Thornton’s Heating & Air Conditioning is here to help keep you warm in the winter and cool in the summer months. Call us today with any questions or to schedule your preventative maintenance and keep your family safe from CO2. 

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