When you close your home up against the cold of winter, it becomes even more important to make sure your carbon monoxide (CO) detectors and smoke alarms are working properly.

Carbon monoxide is a potentially lethal gas that cannot be detected by human senses. At concentrations of 200 ppm (parts per million, a measure of pollutant concentration in the air), healthy adults will begin to feel the effects of CO exposure. At concentrations above 800 ppm, death will occur within an hour, according to the National Comfort Institute.

Fires can start slowly and give off fumes and gases that a smoke alarm can detect. Once started, fires can spread quickly, so you need as much warning as possible to get to safety and call the fire department. Remember that smoke alarms and CO detectors do not serve the same function, and one is not a substitute for the other. You should:

Put a smoke detector inside or near each bedroom and on every level of your home.

Put a carbon monoxide detector outside every bedroom, at each end of your house, and over any attached garage.

Test CO detectors and smoke alarms at least monthly. Each device should have a test button on its face.

Replace batteries or the entire device if the alarm does not sound. Put fresh batteries in each device at least annually. A good rule of thumb is to replace batteries at the beginning of the heating and cooling seasons.

Improve safety even further by purchasing alarms and detectors with features such as voice alarms, flashing alert lights, and dual sensors.

Make sure alarms and detectors that are wired into your home’s electrical system also have a battery backup in case your home’s power goes out.

Replace smoke alarms every 10 years and CO detectors every five years.

Pipe Works Services is a leading source of residential heating, air conditioning, and plumbing services for customers in Chatham and the surrounding areas in New Jersey. Contact us today for more information on carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and how these two early-warning systems work together to keep you and your family safe.

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