Carbon monoxide (CO) is a byproduct of the incomplete burning of common fuels, including the natural gas, propane, oil, coal and wood used in everyday home appliances and HVAC equipment. Exposure to carbon monoxide can cause serious health impacts, including death. Because CO is tasteless, odorless and colorless, your home should have at least one CO monitor – and preferably more – to keep you and your family safe from carbon monoxide poisoning.
A CO monitor is similar to a smoke alarm. It’s designed to use a high-pitched beeping noise to alert occupants of high and dangerous concentrations of carbon monoxide. Some models provide regular read-outs of indoor CO levels so you can see when they’re starting to rise.
Here are a few key features to consider when shopping for CO monitors:
- Electrochemical sensor. Even though the Fresno area has a fairly temperate climate, it can be known to have sudden humidity and temperature changes. An electrochemical sensor prevents a CO detector from reacting to such changes, in addition to preventing false readings from the use of common household chemicals.
- End-of-life warning. CO monitors all have a tested lifetime. Choose a model that gives off a warning when it requires replacement.
- UL listed. You want a CO monitor that has undergone strict third-party testing. Check product labels for a UL (Underwriters Laboratories) sticker.that confirms the device meets stringent guidelines.
- Digital display. Digital display screens allow occupants to easily and quickly view the levels of CO present. Most units update their readings every 15 seconds.
Installation and maintenance
- A minimum of one CO monitor should be installed on each floor with one near every sleeping area.
- Install the unit at least 15 feet away from cooking and heating appliances to prevent false readings.
- Ensure the monitor isn’t obstructed or covered by appliances or furniture.
- Even if you choose monitors with end-of-life warnings, replace your detectors every five to seven years to benefit from technology upgrades.
To learn more about purchasing and installing a CO detector in your home, please us at Donald P. Dick Air Conditioning. Our expert technicians are proud to serve homeowners throughout the Fresno area.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Fresno, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about CO monitors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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