One key element of home safety is carbon monoxide prevention and detection. Dubbed the “silent killer,” carbon monoxide (CO), both invisible and odorless, is the culprit in an average of 170 accidental deaths each year in American homes and many more illnesses. In almost every case, the death or illness is preventable.

Where Does CO Come From?

CO is the byproduct of incomplete burning. In a residential situation, it usually appears as a result of poorly installed or maintained combustion heating equipment, such as storage-tank water heaters and furnaces. If these appliances are working properly, the carbon monoxide is exhausted safely with other combustion gases. Another way that CO may appear in a home is through the improper indoor operation of fuel-burning tools and appliances, such as power tools, BBQs, and portable generators. Don’t operate these items near open windows or in an attached garage.

Carbon Monoxide Prevention

Prevent CO leaks in your home by:
  • Professional installation of fuel-burning appliances, and then annual maintenance.
  • No operation of combustion tools or appliances in the home, near open windows, in attached garages, or any other enclosed structure.
  • Annual inspection of chimneys. Over time, chimney liners tend to crack or separate between sections; this can allow smoke and CO to infiltrate into living spaces.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Most experts suggest that CO detectors be installed on every floor of the home. If you only have one detector, make sure it is installed near the main sleeping area. Don’t place carbon monoxide detectors too close to your furnace or water heater. Harmless, trace amounts of CO coming from these appliances can trigger false alarms.

Follow manufacturer recommendations for placement of CO detectors, and then check them monthly. Not all models are reliable, so regular testing is mandatory, whether your model is operated by batteries or is hardwired into your home’s electrical system (even these usually have battery backups). For many models, switching out the batteries every six months is recommended.

For more advice on installing and operating carbon monoxide detectors in your northern New Jersey home, please contact us at Pipe Works Services

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