What is Carbon Monoxide and What do We Do About it?

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Is A Poisonous Gas.

You cannot taste or smell it. The chemistry abbreviation for this gas is CO. This gas is produced by a variety of fuels that don’t burn up all the way in certain conditions. When

Photo Source: By ENERGY.GOV (HD.17.026) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. This image of carbon monoxide molecules hydrated is public domain via Wikimedia Commons and www.energy.gov
Photo Source: By ENERGY.GOV (HD.17.026) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons. This image of carbon monoxide molecules hydrated is public domain via Wikimedia Commons and http://www.energy.gov
that happens, the of poison gas is released due to the actions of the unburned fuel molecules. This process can happen when your stove that runs on natural gas isn’t functioning properly. The natural gas may not burn properly, and carbon monoxide emerges. This can also happen with coal, automobile engines, gennerators, and others. Coal and natural gas are the most common, however.

Dangers and Symptioms of CO Poisoning

According to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site, the average number of people killed by this poison gas each year is around 170. That doesn’t sound like much until it happens to you or someone you know. The most commonly known symptoms for carbon monoxide poisoning are sluggishness, sleepy, muddled thoughts, and flu-like symptoms including headache and nausea, etc. You can read more about this by going to the Safety Education section of the USCPSC Web site. Be sure to check that page for the symptoms, as well.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors Save Lives

Detectors and alarms for this tasteless and odorless poisonous gas are now the standard life-saving device when it comes to this silent killer. In many states it is now required that sellers equip the homes they are selling, at their cost, a carbon monoxide alarm. Some people might be wondering why you have to have one if your house doesn’t have a fireplace, generator that runs on fuel, attached garage, or natural gas appliances.

The answer may lie in the fact that we cannot predict future behaviors or purchases. In some areas, there could be old gas lines or some other fuel that fosters the production of the gas. Maybe somebody leaves the garage door open to the house with the car running. You just never know, so why not be safe than sorry. Right? If your home doesn’t have one, it really is a good idea to get one.

Tools for Installing CO Detectors and Helpful Hints

Generally speaking, the detectors cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $20 to $30 dollars and are easy to install. They usually come with the screws and / or brackets necessary for installation.

Tools Needed:

  • Cordless screw driver
  • The proper screw bit
    • Usually this will be what is known as a “Phillips Head” screw driver. This refers to the criss-cross way the working end of the driver is shaped. If your kit provides a different type of screw, just take it to your local hardware store and match it up to the new screw bit. The cost for this is minimal, and the experts at the hard ware store can help you get the right thing.
  • Step ladder and even someone to spot you while you are standing on the ladder during installation.
  • Batteries for the CO Alarm

This speaks for itself, but if it doesn’t have batteries it isn’t going to work very well. Some kits may not come with batteries, so be sure to check the package for that information. And, like your smoke detector, change them regularly as indicated on the package.

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