Where is the best place to put a carbon monoxide detector?

Tuesday, December 8th, 2015

Carbon Monoxide Ireland
 

What is Carbon Monoxide (CO) ?

 
Carbon Monoxide (also known as CO) is a colourless, odourless poisonous gas and is a common yet preventable cause of death from poisoning worldwide. Approximately half of the deaths from unintentional CO poisoning result from the inhalation of smoke from fires. Other significant causes are vehicle exhausts and deaths in industrial/commercial settings. On average between 1 and 2 people die each year in Ireland from unintentional CO poisoning in the home in incidents related to domestic heating or other fossil fuel installations in the home (i.e. excluding the inhalation of smoke from fires).
 
The incomplete combustion of organic fossil fuels such as oil, gas or coal is a common environmental source of CO and is responsible for many cases of non-fatal unintentional CO poisoning.
 
In normal conditions the combustion process (the addition of oxygen) will result in carbon in the fossil fuel, combining with oxygen, in the air, to produce Carbon Dioxide (CO2), the same substance we exhale when we breathe.
 
However, if there is a lack of air for the combustion process or the heating appliance is faulty, Carbon Monoxide can be produced.
 
When CO is inhaled into the body it combines with the blood, preventing it from absorbing oxygen. If a person is exposed to CO over a period, it can cause illness and even death.

 

Where should I place carbon monoxide detectors in my home ?

 
Since we are most vulnerable to the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning while we sleep, it is important to place alarms near your family’s bedrooms. If you only have one CO alarm, place it as close to everyone’s sleeping area as possible.
 
Ideally, you should have carbon monoxide detectors placed throughout your home, as you do smoke alarms. You should place a CO detector in each major area of your home: in the kitchen, in your living/dining room, in your bedrooms, and the office. If you have children or elderly family members living with you, provide extra protection near their rooms. If you live in a multi-story home, be sure to place at least one carbon monoxide detector on each level.
 
If you have a gas clothes dryer, put an alarm in the laundry room. Place one in the garage, if you park your cars there. Wherever you have a solid fuel-fired appliance – anything that could produce carbon monoxide – you should also have a CO alarm.

 

Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

 
Causes of CO Poisoning
 
You can be in danger of Carbon Monoxide poisoning at home if dangerous amounts of Carbon Monoxide accumulate in the home. This can happen as a result of any or a combination of the following:
 

    Faulty or damaged heating appliances.
    Heating appliance not maintained or serviced.
    Rooms not properly ventilated.
    Blocked chimneys or flues.
    Indoor use of a barbecue grill or outdoor heater.
    Poor installation of heating appliances.
    Improper operation of heating appliances.
    Property alterations or home improvements, which reduce ventilation.
    Running engines such as vehicles or lawnmowers in garages.
    Using cooking appliances for heating purposes.

 

Symptoms of CO Poisoning
 
Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning can be similar to those caused by other illnesses such as a cold or flu. They include

    Unexplained headaches, chest pains or muscular weakness.
    Sickness, diarrhoea or stomach pains.
    Sudden dizziness when standing up.
    General lethargy.

 

What to Do?

 
If anyone in your house has any of the symptoms outlined above, they should get fresh air immediately, then go to your doctor and ask him/her to check for Carbon Monoxide poisoning.
 
Stop using the appliance immediately and do not use it again until it has been checked by a registered gas installer.
 
The amount of CO which the blood absorbs depends chiefly on two things: how much CO is in the air and the time of the exposure. Adverse effects of CO on humans are reduced by periods of breathing fresh air. The degree of recovery depends on the number and length of those periods. The general state of health and degree of physical activity of a person exposed to CO are other factors involved in the effects of Carbon Monoxide on the body.
 
Prevention is always better than cure: by having your gas boiler and gas appliances correctly installed in good ventilated areas, properly repaired and getting a gas boiler service annually by Registered Gas Installers (RGI) the risks of being exposed to CO poisoning are reduced.
 

Martin Grogan

Martin Grogan has been involved within the Services & Construction industries for more than 25 years. The construction business is something of a tradition for the Grogan family, with Martin's father and grandfather having made their career's in the same field. Martin's background is that of both mechanical and electrical virtues. He has a proven sales and marketing track record within the financial services sector.

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