Carbon Monoxide Alarms

by AJ

Carbon Monoxide Alarms are inexpensive to buy, easy to instal and can prevent a tragedy in your home.

Carbon Monoxide - an invisible threat to your family's safety

Our experience with Carbon Monoxide

On November 01, 2011, I got a huge shock. Two gas engineers were installing a new boiler for us and as they disconnected the old one, they found that a safety vent was not properly connected to the fan, which had been replaced a year ago.They were extremely concerned that Carbon Monoxide may have been leeching into our house.

While I have no idea about how a gas boiler works, I DO know about the dangers of carbon monoxide emissions, within an enclosed area. The news frequently reports on tragedies where adults and children have succumbed to the carbon monoxide given off by faulty or poorly maintained heating systems.

Whenever  we have had work done on our boiler, we have always used qualified gas engineers. However, even this was not sufficient to ensure that my family was not placed at risk and we are now really thankful that the boiler broke down and had to be turned off, even if we found it rather cool in the house for five days.

So now, eventhough we always have qualified people to repair and maintain our boiler, thanks to our recent experience, we will be installing a Carbon Monoxide Alarm.

Do you have a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

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170 people in the USA and 50 in the UK die from CO poisoning every year

The Dangers of Carbon Monoxide

Carbon Monoxide can be fatal

Beware of Carbon Monoxide

 According to BBC Health Carbon Monoxide is emitted as a result of the incomplete combustion of natural or petroleum gas. If Carbon Monoxide is inhaled it impairs and reduces the blood's red cells' ability to transport oxygen around the body, starving the organs of oxygen.

The lost common sources of carbon monoxide in the home are associated with heating: gas central heating and gas fires.

Faulty ventilation, blocked flues and chimneys can all lead tio a lethal build up of Carbon Monoxide in the home and in the UK is the cause of approximately 50 deaths each year. The US Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that around 170 people die in the US each year.


Image credit: Picture is in the Public Domain and can be found at Wikimedia

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

They vary in severity depending on the level of exposure

The symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning will vary for each individual affected. The symptoms may be similar to those of other mild illnesses and so most medical professionals presented with mild symptoms, may not make the connection with Carbon Monoxide poisoning.

Symptoms can include:

  • common viruses such as colds and flu
  • food poisoning
  • headache
  • nausea and sickness
  • abdominal pains
  • sore throat
  • dizziness
  • dry cough

But if cold or flu symptoms are being experienced, carbon monoxide poisoning does not give you a high temperature.

In children, the symptoms can bear a similarity to a stomach upset, with nausea and vomiting.

In more severe cases of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, victims can have a fast and irregular heart rate, hyperventilation, confusion, drowsiness and difficulty in breathing. There may also be seizures and loss of consciousness.

Some symptoms may be delayed and even occur occur a few days or months after inhaling carbon monoxide. These may include co-ordination problems, memory loss and confusion.

How to keep your family safe from Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Simple measures save lives

In the UK, it is law that all gas appliances are fitted by a qualified and certified gas engineer, but you should still take these precautions:

  • Have all gas heating systems serviced annually
  • Never operate gas powered tools in an enclosed space, including garages and workshops, even with doors and windows open
  • Never use portable fuel-burning camping equipment or burn charcoal inside a home, garage, vehicle or tent unless it is specifically designed for that purpose
  • Never use gas appliances to heat your home
  • Never use unvented fuel burning equipment in any room where people are sleeping
  • Never run a car engine in a garage - even with the door open
  • During building work or renovations, ensure that no equipment or debris blocks any vents or chimneys
  • Do not cover the bottom of any type of gas or propane oven with aluminum foil.
  • This can impede the airflow through the appliance and result in the production of Carbon Monoxide
  • Fit Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Source: Consumer Product Safety Commission Carbon Monoxide Questions and Answers

Why Fit a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

In the event something goes wrong a Carbon Monoxide Alarm could save your, or your family's life

My Husband works in the Buildings Sector as a Consultant to Goverment and other agencies. He knows all about the lethal dangers of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning and although he is probably capable of servicing our Boiler, he never goes near it. We always get in qualified Engineers to do the work. But, despite his qualifications, the last person to work on our Boiler made a simple but lethal mistake.

He failed to connect a vent properly and he put my family's life at risk!

Carbon Monoxide is an invisible and silent killer and sometimes, as our experience has shown, despite all the precautions you take, there's still the potential for tragedy.

Carbon Monoxide Alarms are inexpensive to buy and they are easy to fit. They require no specialist knowledge, just the ability to read instructions and ensure that the Carbon Monoxide Alarm is fitted in the correct location.

Give me a drill and a screw driver and even I could fit one!

Carbon Monoxide Alarms

Kidde Tamper Resistant Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm with Battery Backup | Model KNCOB-DP2

The nighthawk, AC powered, basic plug in carbon monoxide alarm, with battery back up, easy to install, provides reliable protection against the dangers of carbon monoxide, writt...

$29.99  $19.47
Alexa Enabled Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm with Premium Home Speaker | Oneli...

Protect your home and your family, and enjoy a hands-free voice-controlled speaker with a great audio experience at the same time. First Alert's Onelink Safe & Sound is a smart ...

$249.99  $216.52
First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm with Built-In 10-Year Battery, BRK ...

Featuring a low-profile, contemporary design, the First Alert PRC710 Slim Photoelectric Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm with 10-Year Battery provides the same protection as a st...

$54.99  $43.78
First Alert Carbon Monoxide Alarm | BRK CO250 Battery Operated Carbon Monoxide Detector With 9-V...

BRK Model CO250 is a single station carbon monoxide alarm specifically designed for residential and institutional applications including sleeping rooms of hospitals, hotels, mot...

$29.99  $18.99
First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Wireless Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm, Battery Operated

This easy-to-install First Alert Z-Wave ZCOMBO-G Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm is designed for compatibility with certified First Alert enabled Z-Wave Devices. It can send you...

$49.99  $41.08
First Alert Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detector with Battery Backup, 3-Pack, CO605

The First Alert CO605 Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Battery Backup utilizes an electrochemical carbon monoxide sensor to accurately and effectively warn you of elevated CO ...

$73.46  $73.34

Carbon Monoxide Alarms in the UK

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Updated: 02/24/2014, AJ
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