Carbon Monoxide Detectors vs. Carbon Monoxide Monitors

Did you know that many people who are exposed to carbon monoxide don’t even know it? In fact, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 people die each year in the U.S. from accidental, non-fire related carbon monoxide poisoning. More than 20,000 visit the emergency room, and more than 4,000 are hospitalized due to this invisible, but deadly gas, which often results from home appliances like furnaces, stoves, fire places, and generators.

Though there are many ways to prevent carbon monoxide leaks, the key to protecting your family from CO poisoning is effectively recognizing when the gas is present in your home. Carbon monoxide detectors and monitors help you do just that, but there is an important difference between these two devices.

The Difference Between Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Monitors

This week, our very own Mike Douglas was on the Chris Krok Show to talk more about how carbon monoxide impacts people and families in the Dallas community. During his segment, he explained the difference between carbon monoxide detectors and monitors and how each helps alert homeowners to the presence of CO in the home.

To listen to the full audio clip, click on the play button below:

As Mike discusses, the main difference between the two is that carbon monoxide detectors alert you to dangerous levels of CO in the home, while carbon monoxide monitors allow you to monitor any level of carbon monoxide. Much like a fire alarm, the detector only alerts you when CO has reached a dangerous level. However, not every member of your family may have the same tolerance, and many detectors will only measure CO levels every couple of hours. Long-term exposure to lower levels of carbon monoxide can also present health issues, making a carbon monoxide monitor a better choice, especially for families with children, pregnant mothers, and elderly folks.

Learn More About Carbon Monoxide

To learn more about carbon monoxide leaks and how to protect you and your family from this silent killer, check out some of our other helpful posts on the subject:

HVAC Safety Tips: Residential Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Should I Be Concerned About Carbon Monoxide in My Home?

Popular Myths and Facts About Carbon Monoxide

Enlighten Yourself About Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

If you are ready to install a CO2 monitor in your home or you have any questions about carbon monoxide safety, call us today for more information: .

HVAC Safety Tips: Residential Carbon Monoxide Leaks

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause serious health consequences, including death. Protecting your business against carbon monoxide leaks is an important part of standard safety measures.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Leaks and How to Fix Them

Carbon monoxide isn’t easily detected, since the gas can’t be seen and has no odor. Carbon monoxide detectors often aren’t enough to keep your business safe, as by time the gas reaches the detectors, it has already done considerable damage. Knowing the signs of carbon monoxide leaks and protecting your business against them can prevent costly damages and possible irreparable situations.

Symptoms of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), those who have been exposed to low carbon monoxide levels for prolonged periods can experience symptoms such as headaches, fatigue and nausea. Those with heart conditions may also experience chest pain. Carbon monoxide detectors are set up to alert occupants of deadly levels of carbon monoxide, but not low levels. If some of your building’s occupants experience these symptoms, have a professional come in to check for carbon monoxide.

Whom to Contact to Find and Prevent Leaks

HVAC contractors are qualified to check for carbon monoxide leaks, because the leaks mainly come from ventilation problems and heating systems. Not only can the contractors check for leaks, but they can also help prevent them from occurring. Having a standing relationship with an HVAC contractor can also help speed up any emergent action should your building become subject to a dangerous carbon monoxide issue.

What the HVAC Contractor Will Do

In the fall before the weather gets cold, schedule a maintenance visit with your HVAC contractor. The contractor or a qualified technician will inspect your furnace, vents, fireplaces, chimneys and fuel-burning appliances. This way, the contractor can address any issues that would likely lead to a leak and take preventive measures against them.

Be sure that the maintenance visit also includes an inspection of the furnace’s heat exchanger. Not all HVAC companies perform this important step, but a leaking heat exchanger is the most common cause of carbon monoxide leaks. Heat exchangers can become cracked, corroded or develop holes, but since the furnace still works, you may not notice. However, carbon monoxide can go through the ventilation system through the exchanger.

What to Do if Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Goes Off

If your detector has gone off, there are immediate steps you will want to take, including the following:

  • Evacuate the building.
  • Call the fire department.
  • Do a head count of those who were inside the building.
  • Turn off your heating system and appliances.
  • Open all windows and doors.
  • Get a qualified technician in to determine what caused the leak.

Regular maintenance of your furnace and related equipment can go a long way toward preventing a carbon monoxide leak in your building. Such leaks are extremely dangerous and can cause injury or death. To makes sure your building is ready for the cold season, contact your HVAC contractor today.

Check out our blog for additional information on heating, cooling and more.