Carbon monoxide is a deadly gas, which has no colour, odour or taste. Invisible, silent and deadly, this hazardous gas is therefore notoriously difficult to detect because of its characteristics.
Even the symptoms that are caused by this gas are non-specific, further delaying the detection of carbon monoxide because sufferers often think that they simply have flu.
Ways to Detect Carbon Monoxide
Trying to detect a carbon monoxide leak is therefore extremely difficult, but there are steps you can take. The first step is simply vigilance and awareness. Remember that carbon monoxide can be emitted from a variety of sources, from furnaces, and carbon based materials and fuels, to car exhausts and even refrigerators.
It is therefore very likely that everyone has something in the home or office that could cause carbon monoxide pollution to some degree.
If you start to experience flu-like symptoms, it is always worth getting yourself checked out. Carbon monoxide poisoning can differ in symptoms slightly because, unlike flu, you won’t feel feverish and achy all over. You may also find that, with carbon monoxide poisoning, the symptoms come and go or are exacerbated in certain places of at particular times of the day.
If you notice that several people in the home or office are displaying symptoms, again it is important to get checked out for CO poisoning – even animals are susceptible to this poisoning so keep your eye on them as well.
Another way to try and detect carbon monoxide leaks is by installing a CO detector. There are a variety of detectors available on the market these days, and authorities state that these gadgets can be as crucial within the home and office as smoke alarms.
A CO detector is designed to go off if abnormal levels of carbon monoxide are present in the air. However, these detectors are still being developed and researched to some degree, and at the moment you may find ones that go off when there are only small levels of CO in the air, and other that will go off way after the levels of carbon monoxide have reached danger levels, which defeats the object.
However, it is now possible to buy carbon monoxide detectors that have been tested to certain standards, thus providing greater peace of mind.
These detectors are usually labelled as having been approved by governmental health and safety institutions.
If you are concerned about which CO detector to buy, you can contact your local health and safety group or council for further advice, and they should be able to recommend detectors that have been tested to meet certain standards.
Having a carbon monoxide detector for each bedroom as well as communal areas such as the living room increases the chances of quickly detecting signs of a carbon monoxide leak, and therefore decreases the chances of serious illness, damage or death from CO poisoning.
Be careful not to place these gadgets within five feet of fuel burning appliances as otherwise you may keep getting false alarms, which could throw you off track in the event that there is a real danger.