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Safety Check: Do You Have a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Tuesday, January 14, 2020 9:23 AM

We’re all busy and keeping tabs on the safety of our homes often falls by the wayside when calendars fill up quickly with day-to-day activities like getting the kids to school on time and shuttling them back and forth to practices and events. But, it’s incredibly important to make time to ensure the safety of your home.

Carbon Monoxide Safety

Some household risks are easy to spot but there are some you can’t see at all. Carbon monoxide is very dangerous and because the gas is odorless and colorless, it's hard to detect without proper monitoring. Now that frigid temperatures have settled in for the winter and furnaces are working overtime, it’s even more important to make sure your family is well-protected from carbon monoxide poisoning.  

Jerrold Leikin, MD, Medical Toxicologist, shares five household safety requirements:

  • Get a UL-approved carbon monoxide detector. First and foremost, if you don’t already have a carbon monoxide monitor installed in your home, do so immediately. If you do have one, be sure to check and change the batteries frequently. You should also plan to test it on a regular basis.
  • Install your detector properly. Detectors should be placed away from windows and drafty areas. Outside air can offset readings and reduce effectiveness. You should also avoid installing a detector in your bathroom, over your oven range or any other high-humidity area.
  • Place all detectors within several feet of sleeping areas. It is recommended to have a detector on every level of your home. A basement detector should be installed at the top of the stairs.
  • Get your furnace and other gas appliances checked out annually. Having an expert evaluate your appliances can help identify leaks and other health hazards. Make sure you’re using appliances correctly; outdoor grills should never be used inside your home.
  • Know the symptoms and act fast if you suspect you may have been poisoned. Some of these symptoms include dizziness, headache, nausea and confusion. Symptoms may not always be present and/or may not be distinguishable. If several members of the household notice similar symptoms seek medical attention immediately.

Do you have a carbon monoxide detector in your home? How frequently do you check it?