Carbon monoxide alarms are essential for detecting and warning of the presence of dangerous, potentially deadly gas. Carbon monoxide is a colorless, tasteless, odorless gas that can only be detected with a CO detector. Without a properly working CO detector, you may not realize that you have been exposed to the gas until you begin to experience symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning. Known as the silent killer, carbon monoxide accounts for numerous illnesses and hundreds of deaths in the United States each year.
So, why is carbon monoxide so dangerous? As discussed, it is very difficult to detect, and people don’t usually know they have been exposed unless they have an alarm or begin experiencing symptoms. Carbon monoxide is harmful when inhaled because it enters your system and displaces the oxygen in your blood. Without healthy blood oxygen levels, your brain, heart, and other vital organs are deprived of essential oxygen. Ultimately, this could cause you to lose consciousness and suffocate. Several potentially harmful consequences can result from carbon monoxide poisoning, including severe illness and even death.
Carbon monoxide is usually closely linked with an oil- or gas-burning furnace. As a result, many people think that carbon monoxide detectors are only really useful in the winter when the home furnace is in use. So, why is your carbon monoxide detector going off in summer? Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion with any appliance, tool, or equipment that burns fuel. Your home is also at an increased risk if you have an attached garage where cars and lawn equipment might be left running for some time. As a result, carbon monoxide could be present in your home year-round. Let’s take a look at why your carbon monoxide detector might be alarming during the summer.
Similar to your smoke detector, a carbon monoxide detector is supposed to alert you to the presence of a potential hazard. The majority of the time, a CO detector begins chirping once it has sensed the presence of carbon monoxide. Even in the summer, when your gas furnace is not in use, other sources of carbon monoxide could still be in your home. A gas stove, water heater, dryer, or other appliance could exhaust excessive levels of CO into your home with a malfunction or improper use. Your carbon monoxide alarm will go off if this is happening.
If your carbon monoxide alarm is going off, it is important not to panic. You should discontinue the use of gas appliances and equipment and open all windows and doors to increase ventilation. It is important that you also move everyone in the home outdoors to get fresh air. You should also contact emergency services, your gas company, or a qualified technician who can identify the issue.
If your CO alarm is going off in the summer, it’s important that you don’t immediately assume it is a false alarm. Remember that carbon monoxide is virtually undetectable without an alarm. You should assume that CO is present and take the necessary steps. In some instances, your alarm could be triggered by a false alarm, or leaky ducts could have drawn in some amount of CO from an outside source and circulated it into your home. Additionally, you might have an outside grill operating too close to an open window or have power equipment going in the garage.
You should also be sure to test your devices and change the batteries regularly. A faulty CO detector or dead batteries could cause your alarm to trigger. It is suggested that you change your CO detector batteries as often as you change the ones in your smoke detector.
A CO detector that is functioning properly could save your life. It is important to ensure that your detectors are working and pay attention to any alarm during the heating or cooling season.