Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that is a by-product of combustion. It is produced by a variety of household appliances such as oil/gas fired furnaces, hot water heaters, and ovens/ranges. A car running in a garage and/or charcoal grills used in enclosed areas can also cause a build-up of carbon monoxide in your home.
According to United Laboratories, approximately 250 people died from carbon monoxide poisonings in the United States last year. The Journal of the American Medical Association lists carbon monoxide as the number one cause of poisoning deaths each year in the United States.
Your best defense against carbon monoxide poisoning is to have a professional check and service your gas/oil fired appliances on an annual basis. One should also ensure that cars are not left running in the garage and that when bar-b-queuing the grill is outside in a well-ventilated area. Finally, ensure that you have purchased and installed a UL listed carbon monoxide alarm.
Make sure that you read the manufacturers recommendations in order to better understand how the alarm works. When placing your carbon monoxide alarm, ensure that it is not above or across from gas fired appliances. Do not place alarms near air vents. Place your alarm in an area where you can hear it no matter where you are in the house and where it will wake you when you are sleeping. Test your carbon monoxide alarm at least once a month and change the battery according to the manufacturer’s recommendations.