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Inspecting Your Smoke and Carbon Dioxide Detectors

Did you think we meant carbon monoxide – the high profile “invisible killer” that also needs early detection? We did not! Although we breathe carbon dioxide in and out every day, there are good reasons to monitor it. It can actually lead to death by asphyxiation, although this is thankfully very rare, in part due to detectors and their regular inspection.

Check CO2 Detectors - Ann Arbor MI - Clean Sweeps of MI

The CO2 Canary

Sometimes it seems that there is really nothing safe about the air we breathe, with warnings about yet another toxic gas to guard against. Carbon dioxide detectors are not quite the same thing, although they function to prevent the same kind of “intoxication” and poisoning caused by toxic gases. CO2 has to build up to extremely high levels to present a danger, but that makes it a good canary.

Because CO2 concentration can rise a great deal without posing risks, monitoring its presence can safely tell homeowners a lot about their chimneys and vents. Insufficient draft can be caught long before smoke and more toxic gases trigger other detectors and possibly fire suppression systems. If they function properly, with periodic inspection by certified professionals, carbon dioxide and smoke detectors ensure good ventilation and safer air.

Detectors for Workplace and Home

Primarily used in workplace settings because more people are exhaling carbon dioxide in enclosed spaces, CO2 detectors have a place in homes as well. Like the more known carbon monoxide gas, carbon dioxide is also a by-product of combustion and is generated by furnaces and fireplaces. In today’s air-tight homes, if vents and chimneys do not draft properly, toxic gases can build up to dangerous levels when unseen and unchecked.

That is where all detectors come in, whether designed to react to smoke, carbon monoxide, or CO2. They are an early warning system that gets people out of the house or building until the air quality improves. Carbon dioxide detectors, in particular, are also a good way to safely expose and correct inadequate ventilation for the home or office.

Avoiding the Silent Killer, Carbon Monoxide

When outdoor temperatures drop, it also gets colder inside our homes. Almost automatically, we turn on the heat and adjust the thermostat to a comfortable indoor temperature. However, many of us never consider whether our furnace exhaust system is up for the task. The furnace connector pipe and chimney make up this exhaust system and they must operate in a safe and efficient manner.

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon Monoxide Detector

Safety is top priority for gas and oil furnace manufacturers so consumers have reason to assume their home heating systems will work properly. However, each time the system runs, there is a risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission reports that more than 200 Americans die from carbon monoxide poisoning each year due to the venting of toxic gases that home heating systems generate.

Carbon-monoxide-related injuries are even more common, with approximately 10,000 cases diagnosed annually. Many people mistake low-level carbon monoxide poisoning for winter health issues. However, some people experiencing dizziness, fatigue, headaches, or seasonal depression are really suffering from prolonged carbon monoxide poisoning. Only when their heart, brain, or other tissues or organs suffer permanent damage do they discover their true condition.

Annual inspection and maintenance of the chimney system can prevent this deadly situation. Energy-efficient home construction and heating appliances may seem positive from a homeowner standpoint but they also contribute to carbon monoxide poisoning. With less fresh air entering the home, limited routes for polluted air to leave, and less than optimal system performance, a very risky situation may develop.

A professional chimney inspection reveals contributing conditions like buildup of soot, a deteriorating or damaged liner, a clogged passageway, or obstruction of the flue. It also identifies whether the chimney is the correct size for the heating system. Chimney cleaning removes soot deposits and other debris that may build up and prevent carbon monoxide from venting out of the home.

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