Fact or Fiction: Five Carbon Monoxide Myths
If there is carbon monoxide (CO) present in my home, I will be able to smell it or taste it.
CO is called the "silent killer" because it
is an invisible, odorless, tasteless gas. The only
way to know if it could be a danger to you is to
have a UL listed CO detector in your home. It is
designed to sound an alarm before the CO level
is high enough to present a hazard.
I don't need a CO detector in my house if I don't have gas heat.
CO can come from several gas
appliances, including dryers, ranges, water
heaters and furnaces. It can also come from
clogged chimney flues, or from leaving your
vehicle running in an attached garage. If there
is any potential for CO poisoning in your home,
you should have a CO detector.
If I have a smoke detector, the alarm will
sound if CO is present.
Smoke and CO are two completely
different substances; a smoke detector will not
be triggered if there is CO in your home. Only a
CO detector can alert you to dangerous levels of
CO in your home. There are some combination
smoke/CO detectors on the market. Check your
local home improvement store if you are
interested in combination detectors.
It's normal to have small levels of CO in
my home, and it can't hurt me.
The effects of CO depend on the level
present in your home and the length of exposure,
combined with your health condition. Babies,
children, elderly persons, pregnant women and
pets are generally more sensitive to CO.
Carbon monoxide has no long-term
CO can cause brain damage or even
death, so CO poisoning should always be treated
as a serious problem. If your CO detector goes
off or you feel that you may be suffering from
CO poisoning, call 911 immediately.
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