The Nitty Gritty About Carbon Monoxide

It’s almost turkey time.  I’ll bet you’re thinking about Aunt Polly’s stuffing and cozy fires with bunny slippers.  Or maybe this is the year to break out that Snuggie for the football game.  (Noted for another blog entry.)  Which ever way you’re inclined, it’s time to get the facts on carbon monoxide and keep your family safe this winter.

We all know CO is bad.  We know that every home should have a CO detector.  But at what level does CO become dangerous?  I did a little research and found that mild CO exposure is 70-100 ppm (parts per million) and causes flu like symptoms such as headache, sore eyes and runny nose.  150-300 ppm causes dizziness, drowsiness and vomiting.  400 ppm causes unconsciousness, brain damage and ultimately death.  This is assuming you’re exposed for eight hours.

So then I took a little drive to check out the carbon monoxide detectors being sold in the big box stores and local family shopping arenas.  Here’s what I found: hold on to your stuffing.

At 70 ppm (flu like stage), the big box store CO detector takes 60-240 minutes to alarm.  At 150 ppm (the dizziness and vomiting point) it will alarm in 10-50 minutes.  At 400 ppm, it will alarm in 4-15 minutes.  Will I already be dead?  I don’t mean to make light of this serious discussion but I’m thinking by the time this thing goes off, I’m already sick or on the floor.  I don’t think it’s worth taking the chance.  The Journal of Am. Med. Assoc. says the CO poisoning is the leading cause of accidental poisoning in America.

Contrast that to the CO detectors we recommend and install – they alarm at 5 ppm within 30 seconds.  No guessing there. 

Smart ways (in addition to this CO detector) of limiting your exposure to CO?  Professional, regular maintenance for your gas appliances (Our ComfortCare plan for your furnace.)  Don’t use a BBQ indoors.  Do not run your car inside the garage; back it out as soon as possible.  Make sure your fireplace is vented properly. And never use a space heater indoors.

If you’d like more info on CO, watch our movie.   We can help keep your family safe this heating season.  So you can enjoy every one of those 36 meals you’ll have from this year’s turkey.  Gobble gobble!

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