The importance of carbon monoxide detectors

The importance of carbon monoxide detectors


Why do you need a carbon monoxide detector?

According to the Centers for Disease Control, carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning is the cause of more than 50,000 emergency room visits, and more than 400 deaths each year.

In 2018, carbon monoxide poisoning sent 176 people to Utah emergency rooms and killed four, according to the Univeristy of Utah.

Statistically, Americans over the age of 65 are the most likely to die from carbon monoxide poisoning. And winter is the time of year when the majority of carbon monoxide poisonings take place. This is due to the fact that heating systems that create CO are often in use. 

What is carbon monoxide and where does it come from?

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas. It’s produced when fossil fuels like gasoline, natural gas or kerosene aren’t completely burned in appliances like heaters or engines.

Cars are the most common source of carbon monoxide. But boat engines, portable generators, gas ranges, furnaces, camp stoves, and lanterns can also produce CO.

As a result, when these devices are used in areas without proper ventilation, dangerous amounts of carbon monoxide can build up, and have serious health impacts.

In addition, during a house fire, dangerous levels of CO can build up inside the home and disable or even kill occupants before they can escape the flames.

How to recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning

Carbon monoxide builds up inside the blood and attaches to blood cells, blocking oxygen. This, in turn, causes asphyxiation and over time, death.

Because carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless, the only way to detect it, is with a carbon monoxide detector. As a result, without a CO detector, it’s important to be able to recognize the symptoms of CO poisoning.

While no one is immune to carbon monoxide poisoning, unborn babies, infants, the elderly, and those with respiratory problems like asthma are particularly at risk.

If you notice these symptoms in yourself or anyone else, seek immediate medical help.

The most common signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are:

  • Persistent, severe headaches and dizziness (usually affecting more than one person in an enclosed area)
  • Nausea, vomiting, and fatigue
  • The disappearance of symptoms when individuals leave the enclosed area

If you suspect the presence of carbon monoxide is causing these symptoms, evacuate the home and call the Utah Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 or 911. 

How to prevent CO poisoning in your home

Carbon monoxide poisoning can be avoided by adopting some simple measures and the application of common sense. Most fire-related carbon monoxide poisoning can be prevented by the proper installation and maintenance of smoke detectors.

 Here are some additional safety tips for avoiding CO poisoning provided by the University of Utah:

  • Have your heating system, water heater, gas range and any other fuel-burning appliances inspected by a licensed technician every year.
  • Install Underwriters Laboratory approved carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home. A high percentage of people who die from CO poisoning, do so in their sleep, so it’s important to have detectors in or near your home’s bedrooms.
  • Install carbon monoxide detectors in RVs and boats with propane stoves or heaters.
  • Avoid swimming or lingering in areas near the engines of a boat or near the exhaust of an RV generator.
  • Test and check or replace the batteries inside your carbon monoxide detectors twice a year.
  • Inspect your home after heavy snowfalls to ensure snow hasn’t built up around exhaust vents and fresh air intakes.
  • If your carbon monoxide detector repeatedly sounds an alarm and you suspect the presence of CO is the cause, evacuate the home and call 911 or your local natural gas company.
  • Seek immediate medical attention if you experience the symptoms of CO poisoning and suspect carbon monoxide is the cause.
  • Avoid the use of generators, grills, camp stoves, or other fuel-burning devices inside or near the windows of your home.
  • Do not heat your home with the oven.
  • You should never burn anything in an unvented or blocked fireplace or stove.
  • Do not run an automobile inside your garage, even with the door open.

Knowledge of the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning and an awareness of the dangers of this colorless and odorless gas are the keys to avoiding CO poisoning. Awareness coupled with a quick response could save your life.


What Is A Heat Alarm?

 What is a heat alarm? This seems like a simple answer right? An alarm that detects heat!

Most people have never heard of a heat alarm before, probably because unlike smoke detectors, they are not a common thing found in stores or in our homes. But should they be?

In order to better understand why a heat alarm is so important, here are a few details about the different types of homes fires that typically occur.

There are two types of fires in a home. Rapidly developing, high heat fires, and slow, smoldering fires. It makes sense that you would want a smoke detector for a smoky fire and a heat alarm for a flaming fire.

Commercial Vs. Residential Fire Protection Coding

Commercial buildings are great examples of fire protection products that can detect smoke and heat.

In addition to smoke detectors, commercial buildings have heat triggered alarms every 10 feet! These heat triggered alarms are fire sprinklers.

Many people don’t know that sprinklers don’t even detect smoke. A room could be filled with smoke where you couldn’t even see your hand in front of you and these sprinklers would not go off.

These sprinklers are designed to go off only when they sense heat.

If commercial spaces have both heat alarms and fire alarms, then why don’t we see both of those in our homes?

Why don’t we see heat sprinklers every ten feet throughout our living spaces? The simple answer is they are not required and sprinklers are very expensive.

The codes for commercial buildings and homes are different. Commercial buildings require the best of the best and our homes require the bare minimum–which is pretty sad considering that we are 80% more likely to die in a home fire than a fire at school or work.


Where Do We Place Smoke Detectors?



Residential code requires builders to install wired-in smoke alarms in all bedrooms, hallways outside of the bedrooms, at least one per level of the home and one in the high point.

But isn’t it interesting the rooms where smoke alarms are NOT required to be placed? When most people are asked which rooms or areas of your home are you most likely to have a fire start, they always say the same rooms.

The kitchen when you are still trying to perfect your cooking skills, the laundry room because most people don’t think to clean out their dryer vents, the garage because of cars, power tools, and who knows what else is stored in there and the attic because it seems like a dark, mysterious place that could possibly house some deadly fires.

All of these are viable reasons as to why you would want a smoke detector in these spaces, but according to code, there are no smoke alarms there…Yes, you read that right, you are not supposed to have smoke alarms in some of the areas you are most likely to have a fire start! How does this make any sense?!

The owners manual of the smoke detectors also lists where they should NOT be put. Which you guessed it… includes the list above.

It also adds don’t put them in dusty or dirty areas, insect-infested areas, or any location where the temperature is under 40 degrees or over 100 degrees. Does it get hotter than 100 degrees in a fire?

Most definitely! What temperature do you cook your cookies at? If you put a smoke detector on your cookie sheet and threw that in your oven at 350 degrees…what’s going to happen to it?

It’s going to melt! In a fire, the ceiling temperature reaches over 1000 degrees. There’s no way that a smoke alarm will last in a fire that hot.

When you think about it though, it actually does make sense why they tell you not to put smoke detectors there.

False alarms in the kitchen from burned toast, bacon, and you forgot you had cookies in the oven. We’ve all been there.

When you are cooking and all of a sudden you start hearing BEEP BEEP BEEP! At the moment, you don’t look around and say, “Where is the fire at?” But, you run over to where the smoke alarm is and you rip it off the wall, take out the batteries and then shove it in a drawer until you’re done with the cooking, or until you remember to put it back up again.

So, your smoke alarms let you know when your food is burning, but it doesn’t let you know when your house is on fire and you and your family are in serious danger.

Garages are the same way. They are dusty and dirty. There are bugs and it gets too hot in the summer and too cold in the winter.

Half of the time, you’ll forget that you even have a smoke alarm out there and then once the batteries die, it will be pretty useless anyway.

With attics, there’s no way you are going to crawl up there on a continual basis to make sure the batteries are all ready to go.

You’d rather have the roaches and insects live in the smoke detector than get up there and change them.

So then what do you do? If smoke alarms are just going to go off to let you know that your bacon is done and if you don’t even think about maintaining the batteries, what is the point of them?

Will they even protect you in case of a fire? Smoke detectors do just what their name implies–they detect smoke. They don’t detect the heat from a fire.

What Is The Solution?


So what is the solution? The codebook recommends HEAT ALARMS.

Heat Alarms are not as common as smoke detectors but they are more fit to alarm you when there is an actual fire in your home and not just when your toast has been in the toaster a little too long.

They are specifically designed to withstand extreme heat in order to sound an alarm when the temperature in your home reaches a high level.


* All Metal Construction and will last for decades.
* Requires no Batteries or Electricity. No Maintenance.
* Works the same way as a sprinkler, except it gives off sound instead of water.
* Much more affordable option in a home and won’t leak causing flood damage.
* Rings at over 100 decibels for 5 minutes.
* Withstands up to 1300 Degrees.
* 25-year warranty
* Probability of failure in flaming fire or overheating condition- Less than 1 in a million!

Though they are not meant to replace smoke detectors, heat alarms are a useful supplemental form of fire detection.

A combination of both covers everywhere in your home taking you from a bare minimum coverage to the very best, giving you and your family the most time possible to escape in the event of a fire.

Aces Lyfe has both smoke detectors and heat alarms. Our skilled professionals will conduct an in-home fire safety evaluation and help you know where to place both your smoke detectors and heat alarms and help you create a safe place for you and your family.

Our Fire Safety experts will also create an escape plan for you and your family so you are prepared if a fire strikes your home.

Give us a call today or fill out the form below so we can get your home and your family protected from a fire. 

Your content goes here. Edit or remove this text inline or in the module Content settings. You can also style every aspect of this content in the module Design settings and even apply custom CSS to this text in the module Advanced settings.