Perform routine maintenance and install Carbon Monoxide detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is known as the silent killer because you can’t smell, hear or see it. CO naturally occurs anytime fuel is burned, but it can turn deadly when the fuel burns incompletely or isn’t vented properly.

In the home, CO can be formed by open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or vents, running a car or other motor inside a garage or a similar enclosed space.

To help prevent CO poisoning, hire a qualified contractor annually to inspect your home’s fuel burning appliances and venting systems for proper ventilation. Performing routine maintenance is advised, especially prior to the beginning of each year’s heating season.

A CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide and sounds an alarm when CO levels develop. Because CO is colorless, odorless and tasteless, its presence is rarely, if ever, noticed and that makes a CO detector a valuable warning device.

CO detectors should be centrally located and placed near each separate sleeping area. Placing them in the immediate vicinity of bedrooms helps prevent being overcome by poisoning while sleeping. Install CO alarms on every level of the home and outside every bedroom.

Also, learn to recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning and respond accordingly. If you or others in your family – including pets – all exhibit flu-like symptoms but feel better in fresh air, it could mean you have a CO problem. Other symptoms may vary from person to person depending on age and current health, and can range from headache, nausea and ringing in ears to lethargy or losing consciousness, as well as eye and skin irritation. If you experience these symptoms consistently, immediately seek medical help.

Purchase CO detectors that have battery backup and memory. Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for installation, and replace the detectors’ batteries regularly. When batteries are low, the detector will beep or go off, but never assume the alarm is indicating a low battery. Always check the source of the alarm.

{tab Carbon Monoxide Detectors Required}

Minnesota State law requires carbon monoxide (CO) detectors be place in all new and existing residential structures.

  • Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic, colorless, odorless gas that is produced by combustion engine exhaust, portable propane heaters, barbecues burning charcoal and portable or non-vented natural gas appliances.  Poisoning is caused by inhalation of CO.  There are many symptoms for CO poisoning including headache, nausea, confusion and shortness of breath.  These can lead to convulsion, unconsciousness, coma and death.
  • CO alarms must be either hardwired into the electrical wiring, directly plugged into an electrical outlet without a switch, or battery powered.  No person shall remove batteries from, or in any way render inoperable, a required carbon monoxide alarm.
  • CO alarms must be within ten (10) feet of each room lawfully used for sleeping purposes.
  • All CO alarms shall be certified by a nationally recognized testing laboratory to conform to the latest Underwriters Laboratory (UL) Standards (also known as UL2034 Standards).

{tab Has your CO detector expired?}

All carbon monoxide detectors need to be replaced between 5-7 years depending on the manufacturer.