Keep Your Family Safe: Carbon Monoxide Detectors

By Colleen McTiernan and Nicole Irving

Every year, more than 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room as a result of unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning and over 400 are fatally poisoned according to the Centers for Disease Control. All gas-powered appliances in your home (gas furnace, stove, hot water heater, generators, etc.) create CO and can contribute to a leak. CO is odorless and colorless, so unless you have a monitor installed in your home, it is unlikely that you would notice it as symptoms of CO poisoning are often mistaken for signs of the flu. While everyone is at risk for CO poisoning, infants are even more susceptible, so it is important that you not only install a CO monitor in your home, but that it alerts you to low levels of CO before it reaches unsafe levels.

First Alert Onelink Environment Monitor

$99.95, Firstalertstore.com

Protect your family from unknowingly inhaling CO with this easy-to-use environment monitor. When low levels of CO are detected, the LED ring will turn red, and when high levels are detected, a loud siren will sound. Aside from CO levels, the Onelink also monitors temperature and humidity.

Kidde Nighthawk AC Plug-in Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display

$43.97, Homedepot.com

This plug-in carbon monoxide alarm uses a digital display to show you the levels of CO detected in your house, from 30 to 999 parts per million. It provides an updated reading every 15 seconds and will sound an 85-decibel alarm when unsafe CO levels are detected. It also features a battery backup to keep you and your family protected during power outages.

Nest Protect Smoke + CO Alarm

$119, Nest.com

This combination smoke and CO alarm both speaks to let you know what is wrong (smoke or high levels of CO) and where in the house the issue is, and sends alerts to your phone so everyone in your family knows when there is an emergency.

How to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Leaks

  • Never use a gas stove to heat your house.
  • Ensure that gas appliances are properly vented.
  • Never use a generator indoors.
  • Do not leave your car running in your garage.
  • Do not burn charcoal or use camp stoves indoors.

Signs of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

  • Headache
  • Dizziness
  • Chest pain
  • Weakness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion