This morning, at 5:12, I was rudely woken up by an annoying and concerning BEEP, BEEP, BEEP. In a groggy state of mind, I tried to analyze the quality of the beep. It wasn’t the smoke detector nor the security system. Ah, it was the carbon monoxide detector. Stumbling into the hall, I plucked it off the wall and saw the low battery icon. Well, the batteries were not only low, there were leaking.
I take a moment to heed my own advice now. In the past, I have suggested that homeowners check their carbon monoxide detectors twice a year, with the daylight savings clock change. Let’s change that suggestion to include replacing the batteries at least yearly. Here’s why you can’t take chances.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that about 170 people in the United States die every year from Carbon monoxide, which is emitted from appliances such as furnaces, ranges, water heaters and room heaters, portable generators, fireplaces, and charcoal that is burned in homes or other enclosed areas. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that several thousand people go to hospital emergency rooms every year to be treated for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless and poisonous gas called a silent
killer. Symptoms of poisoning are vague and often mistaken for the flu.
They include headache, fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and dizziness. If you fear carbon monoxide poisoning or gas exposure, seek fresh air immediately and call 911. Leave the pros to discover the source and shut it down.
Detectors work best when placed on the wall about five feet above the floor. It may be hung on the ceiling. The detector should not be placed near a fireplace or flame-producing device. Ideally each floor in the home should have its own monitor but if you only use one, install it near sleeping areas and make certain the alarm is loud enough to wake you up. Never ignore the carbon monoxide alarm.
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Beth Allen is the founder of HIP Chicks- The DIY resource for women.