Test Your Carbon Monoxide Alarms Every Month

Posted by admin on April 26, 2015, at 8:25 pm

Henscey Electric and HVACBecause carbon monoxide (CO) is a year-round hazard, it’s important to ensure that your home’s carbon monoxide alarms are fully functional. CO is so dangerous because it replaces oxygen in the bloodstream, essentially causing asphyxiation when inhaled in sufficient quantities. It’s odorless, tasteless and invisible, and your only protection indoors is with a working CO alarm.

How and When to Test Alarms

Carbon monoxide alarms have test buttons that you push for a few seconds to see if the batteries are charged. How long you press depends on the manufacturer’s instructions.

Even if your alarms are hard-wired into your home or plugged into a receptacle, you should test the back-up batteries periodically to protect yourself during a power outage. CO detectors use more battery power than smoke alarms. When you place them, keep them elevated but at a level where they’re still easy to reach with a ladder.

Sources of Carbon Monoxide

If your home has any of these attributes, you’re at risk of CO poisoning:

  • An attached garage – If you park your car or run fuel-powered yard equipment in the garage, the fumes can enter your home.
  • Gas appliances – All fuel-burning appliances are at risk of leaking CO into your home, including water heaters, gas cooking appliances, dryers and gas heating systems and fuel-burning fireplaces.
  • Forced-air HVAC system – Even if you use a heat pump for heating instead of a gas furnace, you’re at risk of CO exposure if your forced-air system has any ductwork leaks and you have vented gas appliances indoors. Duct leaks will backdraft CO from vented appliances into your home, like a dryer gas water heater or furnace.
  • Dirty air filters for the HVAC system – Although gas furnaces are extremely safe, continually running one with a dirty filter increases the chances of CO exposure. Gas furnaces use a heat exchanger that can crack if it’s excessively dirty and can spew CO into your home.

To a large degree, you can lower the risk of CO exposure by keeping combustion appliances maintained and using them safely, especially your HVAC system.

Learn more about carbon monoxide alarms and other indoor air quality solutions available from Henscey Electric, Heating & Air Conditioning, or call us at 888-718-7144 to schedule an appointment!