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Home Security Equipment

What does a carbon monoxide detector do and how does it work?

Difficult to detect and treat once the damage is done, carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. This sneaky, toxic gas finds its way into your home through a wide range of seemingly harmless sources.

What is carbon monoxide?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless, and tasteless gas that is near impossible to identify without a proper detector. It is caused by fuels not burning completely, including wood, gasoline, coal, propane, natural gas, gasoline, and heating oil. This unburned fuel can come from anything from clothes dryers, water heaters, and ovens to ranges, a fire-burning fireplace, or a car left running in a closed garage.

When carbon monoxide passes through the lungs, it enters the red blood cells and binds to hemoglobin in the same place as oxygen. This forms carboxyhemoglobin, which interferes with the transportation and gas exchange of oxygen in the red blood cells. This starves the body of oxygen, permanently damages brain and lung tissue, and induces suffocation. Perhaps most troubling is that before symptoms turn lethal, they may come off as symptoms of a flu or cold, such as shortness of breath, nausea, or mild headaches.

One way to prevent extreme or even mild exposure to carbon monoxide is to install a carbon monoxide detector or detectors in your home, either on their own or connected to a full security system.

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