The need for installing smoke detectors is clearly understood as an essential means of highlighting imminent danger. However smoke is usually easy to see and smell unlike carbon monoxide, which is colourless, odourless and tasteless.
Carbon monoxide in San Antonio is a highly poisonous toxic gas, often referred to as the ‘silent killer”, and is produced by the incomplete burning of carbon-based fuels. When inhaled it inhibits the blood’s capacity to transport oxygen throughout the body. It can poison the body quickly in high concentrations, or slowly over long periods of time. As you can’t see it, taste it or smell it carbon monoxide can kill quickly and without warning.
Even if the levels do not kill, prolonged exposure to carbon monoxide in San Antonio can cause serious harm including paralysis and brain damage.
You are particularly at risk from carbon monoxide (chemical symbol CO) poisoning when asleep, because you may not be aware of early CO symptoms until it is too late. Having a loud, audible CO alarm could wake you and save your life.
Proper installation and maintenance of gas appliances by a Gas Safe registered engineer is the best form of prevention. However, the use of an audible carbon monoxide alarm is a useful back-up precaution. This is especially relevant when you do not have direct responsibility for the maintenance of appliances in your home or workplace.
It’s not just boilers that are a concern; the Department of Health recommends the following items of risk should all be protected by a carbon monoxide detector:
- Fires & Boilers
- Water Heaters
- Paraffin Heaters
- General Gas Wall Heaters
- LPG Gas Appliances in Caravans & Boats
Carbon monoxide detectors and alarms are relatively inexpensive however they should always comply with British Standard EN 50291 and carry a British or European approval mark, such as a Kite Mark.
There is a wide range of units available and the vast majority require little or no installation. Alarms are usually fitted with a loud (85dB) audible alarm and an LED alert indication. More sophisticated alarms are also available which incorporate an LCD monitor to provide a live indication of CO level.
As an alternative to the standard replaceable batteries, units are available with sealed batteries, which can last up to 7 years or more, essentially the lifetime of the unit. These long life CO detectors are ideal for taking away on holiday, as they are also portable and lightweight. When renting accommodation either at home or abroad these are a worthwhile, or some would say essential, precaution.
Having decided to install a carbon monoxide detector and alarm where should it be located?
Proper placement of a CO detector is important as unlike smoke, which rises to the ceiling, CO mixes with air.
- The detector should be at a horizontal distance of at least 1m from the potential source.
- The detector should be at least 150mm from the ceiling if fitted on a wall.
- If the detector is fitted on a ceiling, it should be at least 300mm from any wall and any ceiling obstruction.
- Detectors located within bedrooms or located in rooms remote from the fuel-burning appliance should be located relatively close to the breathing zone of the occupants.
- If fitting a combined smoke and carbon monoxide detector, it should be located on the ceiling, bearing the above in mind, to ensure it will detect smoke effectively.