Carbon Monoxide: What to Know and What to Do

You may know that Carbon Monoxide (CO) is dangerous, but do you know the specific risks associated with CO and the key differences between CO and natural gas? Understanding Carbon Monoxide and natural gas leaks is essential to your health and safety, and can save your life.

Natural Gas and CO Differences

At Owens, we’ve always put safety first. When we found that our competitors were using fear tactics during commission based “safety” inspections, we made sure that our customers knew the differences between natural gas and CO. It’s such an important topic that we’re revisiting it this year.

CO and natural gas leaks are different.

Natural gas will make itself known through a powerful sulfuric (egg like) smell. If the smell is slight, ventilate the area and ensure that your pilot light is off. Contact your gas company immediately for further instruction. If the smell is intense, leave your home straightaway and dial 911.

Carbon Monoxide (CO) is odorless, and can build up in any space where fuel is burned. In Minnesota, approved carbon monoxide alarms are required in all dwellings due to its invisible nature.

Bodily Risk

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), CO poisoning can produce flu like symptoms, including “headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion”. In extreme cases, CO poisoning can lead to death, especially in times of sleep. While all ages are at risk of being poisoned by CO, children and the elderly are especially vulnerable. Those with chronic health conditions should be especially diligent.

Prevalence and Prevention

CO poisoning should not be taken lightly. The CDC states that over 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room annually due to the affects of Carbon Monoxide, with over 5,000 being hospitalized. Sadly, 400-500 Americans lose their lives due to CO poisoning every year. CO poisoning can be prevented. To ensure that you and your loved ones are safe, check that all CO detectors are functioning properly and able to detect low levels of CO. At Owens, we recommend (and carry) the NSI 3000 from the National Comfort Institute because of its ability to detect harmful CO levels that other detectors miss.

A monitor that detects CO levels early can be the difference between life and death for sensitive populations, and is indispensible. Monitors sold in big box stores simply can’t detect low levels of CO in the home, and can allow for a build up of harmful CO for hours before alerting you. The NSI 3000 is different. With its continuous scan features and CO detection as low as 5 parts per million, we endorse them because we know they keep families safe through accurate and sensitive detection of CO in your home.

Regardless of what detectors you choose, make certain that they are replaced every five years, and positioned close to sleeping areas. To avoid a build up of CO in your home in the first place, proper maintenance of your systems is imperative too. Since we don’t work on commission, we will always give you honest advice as to any repairs or replacements needed to your systems and put your safety first.

At Owens, we care deeply about our communities. Contact us today if you have any concerns, require maintenance or would like to order a NSI 3000 CO detector. We’re here to help.