Carbon monoxide (CO) is an invisible, odorless and colorless gas. It is created when fuels (such as gasoline, wood, charcoal, and petroleum products) burn incompletely.
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Carbon monoxide displaces oxygen in the blood and deprives the heart, brain, and other vital organs of oxygen. Carbon monoxide poisoning can be fatal. Symptoms include headache, fatigue, nausea, dizziness, bright red skin, mental confusion, loss of muscular coordination and loss of consciousness.
Carbon monoxide sources include: Heaters, fireplaces, furnaces, appliances, and cooking sources that use coal, wood, petroleum products, and other fuels. Petroleum products include, but are not limited to, kerosene, natural gas, and propane. Equipment powered by internal combustion engines, such as cars, portable generators, lawnmowers, and power washers, emit carbon monoxide. Attached garages with doors, ductwork, or ventilation shafts that are connected directly to a living space are also considered "carbon monoxide sources".
A device that detects carbon monoxide and produces a distinct audible alarm when carbon monoxide (CO) is detected. It can operate either as a distinct unit, as two or more single station units wired to operate in conjunction with each other, or as part of an alarm system that contains CO detectors. A CO detector may look like this:
No, they are not required in these homes by North Carolina rules. However, it is a recommended best practice to have the alarms installed in any home that has a carbon monoxide source.
In rental dwellings in which carbon monoxide (CO) alarms are required, the landlord must ensure that properly functioning CO alarms are installed, provide working batteries at time of move-in, and provide the new tenant with alarm testing instructions. A tenant must test the alarm at least every six months and replace batteries as needed, and notify landlord in writing of any operating deficiencies.
A carbon monoxide alarm should be installed on each level of the home that has bedrooms or sleeping areas. They should also be in each bedroom or within 15 feet outside of each bedroom door. In multi-family buildings, an alarm is required in any enclosed common area that is connected by a door, ductwork, or ventilation shaft to a carbon monoxide source. The placement of the alarm should be in a location specified in the manufacturer's instructions. Depending on the model, this may be the wall, ceiling, or other location, such as a plug-in receptacle. You need to avoid locations that are in turbulent air, such as near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, or open windows. You should also avoid kitchens, garages, and furnace rooms, as installation in these areas could cause nuisance alarms. Alarms should be placed more than five feet from fuel-fired appliances. Also avoid locations that are dusty, dirty or greasy; these substances can contaminate or coat the alarm's sensor, causing the unit to malfunction.
No, the law requires an alarm on each level of the home that has bedrooms. However, it is a recommended best practice to have alarms on each level of the home.
Carbon monoxide alarms can be battery operated, hard-wired with a battery backup, or plug-in with a battery backup.
Carbon monoxide (CO) alarms must be maintained and tested according to the manufacturer's instructions. This usually includes: periodic (weekly) testing, vacuum to keep alarm free of dust and debris, and replacing batteries as needed. Most CO alarms have a 5-year lifespan.
When the alarm sounds, silence the alarm. Move everyone outside to fresh air and call for help from an outside location. If anyone is experiencing symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning, call 911. If no one has symptoms, ventilate the building and contact a qualified service technician. Have all home equipment that is powered by fuels such as gas, wood, or petroleum products inspected by a qualified technician. Have fuel-burning heating equipment and chimneys inspected by a professional every year before cold weather sets in.