Getting ready for winter involves a lot of work around the house, most of it related to keeping your home warm and efficient for the colder days ahead. However, it’s also important to check smoke alarms and CO detectors to ensure your family’s safety, especially if you use any gas- or wood-burning equipment in your home. That fireplace and furnace, gas stove, water heater or dryer can emit carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless, odorless gas that’s potentially lethal, while smoke from fires, of course, is also highly dangerous.
The state of Kansas doesn’t require CO detectors by law, so your home may not have one, though smoke detectors are required. If you don’t have a CO detector, it’s a good idea to invest in several to keep your family safe, all year long, but especially during the winter. These tips can help you choose the right kind for your home:
- Both smoke alarms and CO detectors can either be battery-powered or hard-wired into your home. Some will just plug into your wall outlet. If you choose the hard-wired or plug-in alarms, be sure that they have a battery-backup in case the power goes out.
- Hard-wired CO alarms often have a digital readout of the CO levels in your home, which helps you know how well your gas appliances, wood stove or fireplace are working. This is a good choice for older homes or those with gas-burning appliances.
- The best kind of smoke alarm is the type that uses both ionization and photoelectric sensors. This type detects all types of fires, from flaming to smoldering.
- When someone in your home is hearing impaired, choose smoke alarms and CO detectors that combine both an alarm and flashing lights. These may also help alert sound sleepers.
CO detectors should be placed at eye level or higher on a wall, while smoke detectors need to hang on the ceiling for the best detection. The CO detectors should be at least 10 feet away from humid areas and gas appliances.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Overland Park, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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