Maryland Carbon monoxide inspectionA carbon monoxide is a low-cost safety device that every homeowner needs! It protects your family, alerting you to danger much like a smoke detector. Only carbon monoxide (CO) is more dangerous than smoke because you can’t smell it, taste it, or hear it! CO poisoning is an invisible danger for every Montgomery and Howard County homeowner. How to choose a carbon monoxide detector, and properly install it for maximum protection.

What causes carbon monoxide?

Heating and cooling equipment, appliances, and human error all create carbon monoxide issues. Gas and oil-burning furnaces, fireplaces, ovens, cars, and generators can put carbon monoxide in the air. Your gas and oil-burning furnace, fireplace, gas range, dryer, and water heater have venting systems to remove carbon monoxide from your home. However, over time, cracks, leaks, and blockages may cause carbon monoxide to build up in your home.

Human error also plays a role. Improper installation of an appliance or HVAC equipment can cause carbon monoxide concerns at home. Plus, running a generator near your home or in your garage will cause a buildup of CO. Even running your car in the garage, with the door open, is a safety concern.

With so many causes, Minnick’s recommends a carbon monoxide detector for every home, even in homes without gas-burning appliances.

How to choose a carbon monoxide detector

CO monitors typically cost around $20 or more, depending on the product you purchase. They measure carbon monoxide in the air.

There are lots of features like lithium batteries, voice warnings, and display screens showing you the amount of CO detected in the air. Here’s what Minnick’s believes is important.

Look at the device, to determine when it sounds. How much carbon monoxide has to be in the air? Many CO alarms go off when they record CO at 70 parts per million (ppm) for an hour. Minnick’s recommends buying the most sensitive monitor on the market because at 35 ppm you should be opening the windows and leaving home until it’s safe again.

Many detectors plug into the wall. However, Minnick’s doesn’t believe this type of device offers maximum protection for your family.

We prefer battery-operated alarms.

how to choose a carbon monoxide detector

Where to install a carbon monoxide detector

Carbon monoxide is lighter than air. It hangs around the top 1/3 of your airspace unless it starts to fill up and push down.

So, mount the CO detector at roughly 5 feet. That’s important, because it may change the type of detector that you buy.

Many carbon monoxide detectors plug into an electrical outlet, meaning they are usually not above 5 feet. That may not offer you the maximum amount of protection.

“By the time it hits that CO monitor, it’s already filled the room. It could be triple of what it’s reading,” said Minnick’s CEO & President, Rob Minnick.

If you have an electrical outlet above 5 feet, a power-operated CO monitor will work for your family.

Otherwise, use a battery-operated carbon monoxide alarm.

You should install a carbon monoxide detector on every floor of your home.

If that’s not possible, install it in the hallway near your bedroom. Carbon monoxide is especially dangerous at night. Symptoms may not wake you up!

If you purchase more than one CO detector, install it in the kitchen and near the garage entry to the home.

It’s dangerous to start a lawnmower, car, or another gas-powered device in your garage. Even grilling in your garage is dangerous. Let’s face it, though. It happens. That’s why you need a CO detector near your garage.

It’s also a good idea to place a detector near your heating and cooling equipment and fireplace. Your water heater and furnace backdraft CO if leaks, cracks, or blockages develop over time.

When you’re placing a detector in the same room as a fuel-burning appliance, keep it at least 15 feet away.

Carbon monoxide symptoms

Carbon monoxide mimics flu-like symptoms. This includes a headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, confusion, vomiting, and chest pain.

If you’re sleeping, you won’t necessarily experience symptoms. CO kills, especially at night. That’s why Minnick’s recommends carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms.

Howard and Montgomery County carbon monoxide inspection

Minnick’s also makes sure Howard and Montgomery County homeowners are safe during annual furnace and water heater inspections. We always look for cracks and leaks in the furnace and water heater, plus we test the air.

We use sophisticated technology that detects CO at low levels. Exposure to low levels of CO, for an extended period of time, is harmful.

It can cause serious illness and birth defects in children.

Short-term exposure is dangerous too, especially if the levels are high. Every year, 400 people die from carbon monoxide poisoning.

All of those deaths are preventable!

How long do CO detectors last?

Most carbon monoxide detectors, on the market today, last up to 10 years.

New alarms include an end-of-life warning, notifying you when it’s time to replace the carbon monoxide detector.

Even with the alarm, you should replace it before the alarm sounds.

If you purchase a battery-operated alarm, replace the batteries periodically. For an easy reminder, do it when you change your clocks in the fall and spring. You should also change your smoke detector batteries.

While carbon monoxide detectors keep you safe, go one step further. Protect your family with an annual furnace and water heater inspection too!