Carbon Monoxide Safety Tip: Change Detector Battery

A propane safety refresher for the spring season

change carbon monoxide detector batteries central delmarva eastern pennsylvaniaHappy Spring, everyone! As we’re beginning to put the winter clothes away and go about our spring cleaning, there’s a task we should not forget: changing the batteries in our home’s carbon monoxide detectors.

Forgetting can have serious, potentially fatal, consequences. According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 50,000 people go to the emergency room and 4,000 are hospitalized from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning each year.

Those figures emphasize the importance of having working carbon monoxide detectors in your Delmarva home.

Carbon monoxide detectors need to be in place on every level of your home, as well as outside all sleeping areas. You need to change the batteries in your CO detectors when you change the batteries in your smoke detectors, something you should be doing each time you reset your clocks to or from Daylight Savings Time.

CO detectors need to be replaced about every five years, so if yours are that age or older, look to replace them now.

If you use propane in your home, we urge you to install propane leak detectors as a backup in case something like rust inside your propane tank inhibits the rotten-egg smell of propane. Propane leak detectors are inexpensive, and can be bought at hardware and home improvement store, or online.

Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is a stealth killer. When CO builds up in your blood, it starts to replace the oxygen in your red blood cells. The more it builds up, it starts starving critical organs like your brain, heart and lungs of oxygen. This oxygen deprivation can cause serious, potentially permanent, injury or death.

Many CO poisoning instances happen at night when people are sleeping. In these situations, people can be at risk before they ever feel any symptoms.

What are the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning?

The symptoms of CO poisoning are usually described as flu-like, with the most common symptoms being:

  • Headache
  • Weakness or lethargy
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Chest pain

Everyone is vulnerable to CO poisoning, but infants, children, the elderly and people with anemia, respiratory problems or chronic heart disease are especially vulnerable.

How does CO build up in my home?

Dangerous levels of CO can build up in your home in several ways, including:

  • Portable generators or grills being run inside the garage or an enclosed space next to the house, or next to an open door or window
  • Vents being blocked by obstructions like bird nests, or ice or snow in the winter
  • Using the gas range or oven for home heating
  • Warming up the car inside the garage, which is dangerous even if the garage door is open
  • Gas appliances which are defective, improperly used, or not properly maintained (or not maintained at all)

Take the time to learn about carbon monoxide and propane safety. It is of importance to us, and should be equally as important to you and your family! Contact us if you have any questions – we’re always here to help.