Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill people without them even becoming aware of its symptoms. Depending on the levels of carbon monoxide present in the air, death can occur in a matter of minutes or a few hours. A carbon monoxide detector will alert you and your loved ones whenever there is a risk of being poisoned in your home.
The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can feel like the flu (without the fever). Look out for other warning signs, including:
Weakness or fatigue
Shortness of breath
Common household appliances like gas stoves and fireplaces generate carbon monoxide. This toxic gas can also be produced when fuel is burnt, such as is emitted by car exhausts, space heaters, gas or charcoal braais and clogged chimneys. When this happens in a poorly ventilated space, carbon monoxide builds up in the air and causes the buildup of poisonous gases.
Install carbon monoxide detectors in your home (at least one on each floor of the building and outside each bedroom).
Replace your carbon monoxide detector’s batteries at least once a year.
Check for the SABS seal of approval when purchasing any gas equipment.
Arrange for regular checks for all your gas appliances (at least once a year).
Avoid using flameless chemical heaters in enclosed spaces (especially indoors) as these burn gas, allowing carbon monoxide to accumulate to lethal levels in a short amount of time.
Arrange for faulty gas appliances to be professionally repaired immediately.
Make sure that the flue is open and unobstructed whenever using a fireplace or furnace.
Never use a gas oven to heat your home.
Never run a fueled motor (such as a car or generator) indoors. Even with the garage door open, carbon monoxide can accumulate quickly and poison the air.
Use gas braais or grills outdoors only, where there is good ventilation.
Make use of battery- or electricity-powered heaters when camping or entertaining indoors.
Ensure that you are familiar with the alarm sound your carbon monoxide detectors make.