At the start of the heating season, it’s important to schedule a furnace tune-up to improve its performance and assure your family’s safety. Checking the carbon monoxide detector goes hand-in-hand with home safety during the heating season if you use any gas appliances or have an attached garage.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is the natural byproduct of the combustion process, and it’s very dangerous because it easily replaces the oxygen in your bloodstream. It’s odorless and colorless, and the only way to know it’s present is by using CO detectors.

Testing the Detectors

All detectors have a test button that makes a sound when pressed. Battery-only detectors need to be tested monthly because they use power continuously. The hard-wired and plug-in detectors use batteries as a back-up and should be tested to make sure the batteries will sound an alarm during a power outage. If any detector doesn’t work, replace the battery and retest it. The lifetime of a CO detector runs between five and seven years, and working detectors are your only protection against deadly CO exposure.

Tips for Replacement

  • Select plug-in style detectors only if you have outlets high on the wall.
  • Choose detectors that give periodic readouts of CO levels if you have any aging gas appliances, especially furnaces; family members with heart disease or respiratory problems; or you have very young children. These groups are especially sensitive to CO exposure, even at low levels.

Checking the Placement

The position of the detectors is a factor in how effectively a carbon monoxide detector protects you. CO rises and the detectors should be placed above eye level, but not so high that they’re hard to test. You’ll have fewer false alarms if the detectors are 15 feet away from any gas appliance or the door between the garage and your home. Keep them away from the kitchen and bathrooms, since the extra humidity interferes with their operation.

For more information about home heating safety and testing the carbon monoxide detector, contact Wolff Mechanical, proudly providing HVAC services for greater Phoenix homeowners.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Phoenix Valley area of Arizona about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

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