5 Facts Every Homeowner Should Know About Carbon Monoxide and First Alert Alarms

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Do you know the most important facts about carbon monoxide exposure and how to properly protect your home and family? Read on for 5 things every homeowner should know.

First Alert 10 year Sealed Battery CO Alarm

If this past year showed us anything, it's how much we love our families and our pets and want them to stay safe! We wear masks and social distance, wash our hands and use sanitizer regularly. We even stopped getting together with friends for a time. Why? Because we love our people and want them to be around for a long time!

But how many of us are unaware of the real dangers of carbon monoxide exposure? Today, I want to educate you a little with the most important facts that every homeowner should know about this silent killer. I have been personally affected by CO and I'll share a little more about my story in a bit.

5 Facts Every Homeowner Should Know About Carbon Monoxide and First Alert Alarms

1. Carbon Monoxide (CO) is odorless and tasteless

You might think you'll know if your home is slowly filling up with CO but the truth is that it's invisible and completely odorless and tasteless; that's why it's known as the silent killer.

Protecting your family from CO exposure is easy when you have the proper carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home, on every level and in each bedroom.

First Alert protect your family

2. Household appliances can leak CO gases

Carbon monoxide is produced from any fuel burning device in your home. This includes both gas and oil-burning appliances such as your furnace, boiler or stove (including wood-burning) as well as your dryer, water heater, charcoal grill and your cars!

If you have a generator, you should never use it inside your home, even with windows and doors open!

Everyone knows you should never start a car inside a closed garage. But did you know that you should never even work on a car's engine in a closed garage? That's how my dad lost his life in February of 2009. He was tinkering with the non-working engine of his Corvette, and I'm sure he never imagined that any CO was being emitted into the air around him. He died alone in a cold garage, overcome by poisonous CO gas. The saddest part about his death was that it was completely preventable!

Keeping on top of appliance maintenance is part of being a responsible homeowner. It's important to have your oil or gas furnace inspected every winter before you turn it on for the first time! Did you know that two out of every five exposures to carbon monoxide happen during the winter months?

Here are some things you can do to ensure your appliances are in good working condition:

  • make sure your chimneys, flues and vents are clear of debris
  • check your gas appliances periodically to make sure they're properly vented and operating as they should
  • do not use unvented gas and wood stoves or charcoal grills indoors
  • do not permit cars or other gas-powered equipment (power tools, lawn equipment) to run indoors without proper ventilation

If your equipment or appliances are clogged up and not running properly, higher concentrations of CO are produced.

3. Know the symptoms of CO exposure

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are very similar to the flu and they vary from person to person so they can be confusing to detect. What happens when you breathe in carbon monoxide, is that the poison replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. Your heart, brain, and body will become starved of oxygen.

The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as 'flu-like.' If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.

Those at high risk include young children, older adults, people with lung or heart disease, people who are at high altitudes, and smokers.

It's important to note that animals can also be poisoned by carbon monoxide. People who have pets at home may notice that their animals become weak or unresponsive from carbon monoxide exposure. Often the pets will get sick before humans.

First Alert CO alarm and pets

4. Maintaining fire, smoke and CO detectors is easy

Once you have carbon monoxide alarms installed, it is important to maintain them. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries twice a year at Daylight Savings Time (Spring and Fall). Or you can upgrade to First Alert 10-year Sealed Battery Carbon Monoxide Alarms to eliminate the need for battery replacements for a decade.

There is no installation with this First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Carbon Monoxide Alarm. Simply place the CO alarm on a tabletop and it will display the temperature and peak CO levels when detected and notify you loudly if a dangerous situation arises. The life of the alarm is 10 years and you will not miss that annoying middle of the night chirp signaling that a battery needs to be replaced!


First Alert CO alarm and family photos

First Alert carbon monoxide alarm in package

5. Carbon monoxide CAN be stopped!

Knowing the facts about CO is the first step to keeping your family and pets protected. While not a fun topic, I am living proof that knowing the facts and having the proper carbon monoxide alarms installed in your home, can help save your life and the lives of your loved ones!

Being a responsible homeowner means taking care of the (often unseen) things that can go wrong in our homes, and preventing the unthinkable, like death from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Knowing the facts and the risks, our family chose to upgrade to the First Alert 10-Year Sealed Battery Alarms. Peace of mind and knowing our family is protected, is worth more than words can say!

family playing cards

First Alert CO alarm on tabletop

kids and pup

children and pet with First Alert CO alarm

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Facts about carbon monoxide to protect your family

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  1. Cindy, first of all I am so sorry about your dad. Secondly, thank you for posting this as it is very important to know.

    Denise TX

    1. Thank you Denise, I really appreciate that! Please make sure you have one of these alarms, and let your family know too!

  2. Thank you for sharing your story to help educated your readers about this danger! These monitors and fire alarms can truely save lives. The cost is nothing compared to our loved ones safety!

  3. Carbon monoxide is nothing to fool with and thanks for sharing your story.

    Some don't realize you have to be concerned about it in our area with snow.

    Old homes have low dryer vents so snow can cover them.

    Same with certain heat.


    1. Yes, the winter months are especially dangerous! Thanks Cindy!

  4. I am so sorry to learn what happened to your dad. I will definitely look for this CO detector because I like the idea of not having to change the batteries.

  5. Thank you for sharing your story, the story of your father. I have taken care of families overcome by CO, but still never got a monitor for my home. I think you've just inspired me to do so. Take care of yourself and your family. Your words make an impact.

    1. Oh gosh, please get one! I'm so glad you read my post!

  6. I am so sorry that you lost your dad to CO poisoning. Having a monitor is so important and I don't think that enough home owners know about the danger.

    1. Thanks Paula, I agree that most people aren't aware of the very real dangers!


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