Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as a silent killer due to the fact that it’s undetectable by human senses. It’s both colorless and odorless, which means that it can only be detected by an alarm system.
Background and Dangers of Carbon Monoxide
CO is formed from any incomplete combustion reactions, which can come from the burning of fossil fuels around the home. While a very small amount won’t kill you, it can quickly build up and could prove to be fatal. The chemical can be produced from a variety of household appliances and equipment, including space and water heaters, blocked chimneys, cars, furnaces, ovens and charcoal grills.
Cars in particular always produce a small amount of CO, and as long as you’re out on the roads where it can quickly dissipate into the air, there aren’t any health risks. In an area with poor ventilation, like a garage, you should never leave a car running.
How to Protect Yourself
Just because you can’t detect it with your senses doesn’t mean you should live in fear of CO. You can start taking precautions by installing carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home.
- You should always refer to your owner’s manual for guidance on how to test your detector and how often you need to replace it—typically every two to six years.
- Try and prevent CO accumulation near potential sources. This means only using fuel-burning equipment in well ventilated areas of your home.
- Make sure you know what to do if you hear the alarm go off. If you know the source of the CO, you may be able to turn it off quickly and open nearby windows, but the priority is to evacuate the home to an area with fresh air. Then call the fire department and don’t go back in until it’s safe.
If you need any assistance making sure you and your Baltimore home are well prepared against carbon monoxide, contact the HVAC experts at Griffith Energy Services, Inc.
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Written by Kevin Spain