If you have a gas or oil burning furnace, boiler, water heater or any other fuel burning appliance (including a generator), you probably know about the dangers of carbon monoxide and why it’s important to install a CO monitor. But installing a CO monitor in your home is not just a good idea – it’s Maryland’s state law!
According to Md. Code Ann., Pub. Safety § 12-1101 to 1106: “installation of CO monitors is required outside of each sleeping area or within a certain distance of carbon monoxide-producing equipment within certain dwellings.” The law goes on to prohibit people from tampering with or disabling CO monitors and says that local jurisdictions can have as strict regulations regarding CO monitors as they want.
Why all the to-do about carbon monoxide? Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, tasteless and extremely deadly gas, which means if you do not have a CO monitor installed in your home you might not realize its presence until it’s too late. In addition, low level carbon monoxide poison symptoms closely resemble flu symptoms (shortness of breath combined with mild nausea or headache), making it difficult to detect the gas even if it’s already starting to make you sick. If exposure persists, dizziness and lightheadedness can accompany worsening headaches and nausea. At high levels, carbon monoxide exposure can skip all of these systems, causing death in minutes.
While just having a CO monitor is crucial to keeping your family safe, installing your CO monitor in the right place can increase your protection even more. For maximum protection, install a CO monitor on every floor of your home (including the basement), as well as one within 10 ft of every bedroom door and one over or near any attached garage. Also make sure you replace your CO monitors every five to six years (they’re usually not expensive), as they can lose their effectiveness over time. If that seems like a lot to think about, don’t worry – most new models of CO monitors signal an alert when it’s time for them to be replaced.
There are a number of different types of CO monitors on the market. Some are battery operated, some have digital readouts, etc. Here is a rundown of some of the most useful features of CO monitors:
Digital readouts:CO monitors with digital readouts display the current carbon monoxide concentration (in parts per million) as well as a peak reading from the system’s memory. CO monitors with digital readouts are useful because they can detect levels of carbon monoxide below the alarm threshold. They can also tell you if your home reached high levels of carbon monoxide concentration while you were absent and help you determine the level of threat when the alarm sounds. In addition, they can aid emergency personnel in determining current and past levels of carbon monoxide danger.
Battery backups:While CO monitors tend to burn through batteries fairly quickly, CO monitors that plug into the wall and have battery backups require fewer battery changes and can be very useful for times when the power goes out. These CO monitors will help make sure you and your family are always protected!
CO monitoring systems:Some CO monitors can be wired to a security or fire panel, hooking them up to a central station that can monitor your home’s carbon monoxide levels 24/7. The monitoring station can alert the authorities of a carbon monoxide leak if the occupants in a home are sleeping and unable to escape, or if they are already suffering from the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning.
If your CO monitor goes off, get everyone out of the house immediately and move to a place with fresh air. Make sure everyone who was in the home is out, then call the fire department from a cell phone or a neighbor’s house. Do not go back inside until your home has been aired out and the carbon monoxide leak has been fixed.
Carbon monoxide is an extremely dangerous gas that can only be detected by a CO monitor. If you want to keep your family safe and secure by installing a CO monitor in your Maryland or Washington, DC home, call James A. Wheat & Sons today!