Carbon monoxide (CO) can be a year-round hazard and once the weather warms, it’s easy to forget to check the carbon monoxide detectors. They’re your only defense against this deadly gas since it’s odorless, colorless and tasteless. This gas is especially dangerous since its symptoms mimic the flu, cause fatigue and go unnoticed as you sleep.
Unlike smoke alarms, CO detectors need to be tested monthly. They use more battery power since they’re constantly cycling. Even hard-wired or plug-in detector batteries need to be tested periodically to keep them functional during a power outage.
Find the test button on the CO detector and depress it as long as the manufacturer specifies. It should make a chirping or beeping sound that indicates the batteries are working. If there’s no sound, change the battery. If it still doesn’t beep, replace the detector. Most carbon monoxide detectors last approximately five years.
Sources of Carbon Monoxide
Gas appliances and heating systems are well-known causes of CO exposure, but many people aren’t as familiar with other sources, like:
- An attached garage – Unless the common wall between your home and the garage is tight, CO can enter your home through tiny cracks when you drive into or out of the garage. Worn weatherstripping around the connecting door can also allow CO leaks indoors.
- Leaking ductwork – Besides increasing energy bills and lowering air quality, leaks can backdraft CO into your home from any vented gas appliance, like a furnace, gas water heater or dryer.
- Open windows – Mowing the lawn or using a barbecue too close to an open window or door can allow carbon monoxide into your home.
- Malfunctioning appliances – Anytime you see a gas appliance burning with a predominantly yellow flame, turn it off immediately and have it professionally serviced. A yellow flame indicates incomplete combustion that causes CO to form as a by-product.
If you’d like more information about maintaining your HVAC system and carbon monoxide detectors, contact the pros at Amarillo Air Conditioning. We’ve provided outstanding services for homeowners in Amarillo and the surrounding area since 1955.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Amarillo, Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about carbon monoxide detectors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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