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Detecting Carbon Monoxide in Your Home

The incomplete combustion of fossil fuels such as gasoline, charcoal, wood, natural gas, propane and oil results in a gas that is odorless, invisible and tasteless but very dangerous to humans. This gas is known as carbon monoxide and is one of the leading causes of accidental poisoning. When carbon monoxide is inhaled, it interferes with the transport and exchange of oxygen in the body and as a result, the body receives insufficient oxygen which can damage tissues resulting in death.

Headaches, nausea, dizziness, fainting, mental confusion are results of low level carbon monoxide poisoning while higher levels of carbon monoxide in the body can result in permanent brain damage. This is why it is very important for one to know when he is exposed to carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide detectors are used to let you know when carbon monoxide is present in an area. As the gas accumulates over time in a specific area, the detector triggers an alarm. There are different types of carbon monoxide detectors . How the level of carbon monoxide is measured determines what type of detector it is. The fact is that carbon monoxide can be harmful if you are exposed to high levels as well as low levels so there are detectors that measure high levels and detectors that measure low levels.

It is important to know that most carbon monoxide needs a constant supply of power so if the power cuts off then the detector will not work unless you have purchased one with a back-up battery. Knowing where to place your detector is very important. You should never place it next to or over a fireplace or any flame-producing appliance. Always keep it away from your pets and children. The ceiling is a good place to place the detector or anywhere on a wall as long as it is placed about five feet above the floor.

So what do you do when the alarm goes off? Never ignore it. The alarm is meant to go off before you start experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning so you have sufficient time to take the alarm off and get everyone outside to get fresh air. Before returning to your home, make sure that it is well ventilated and that you determined what was producing the carbon monoxide.