Carbon Monoxide And
Smoke detectors provide the early warning needed to prevent fire fatalities.
Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Is your home protected from carbon monoxide poisoning?
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.
What Are The Symptoms Of Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?
The early symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can feel like the flu (without the fever).
Look out for other warning signs, including:
- Irregular breathing
- Weakness or fatigue
- Shortness of Breath
- Chest pain
Keep your finger on the pulse; monitor carbon monoxide levels in your home with a carbon monoxide detector.
Where Could Carbon Monoxide Come From?
Common household appliances like gas stoves and fireplaces generate carbon monoxide. This toxic gas can also be produced when fuel is burnt, such as by car exhausts, space heaters, gas or charcoal braais and in clogged chimneys. When this happens in a poorly ventilated space, carbon monoxide builds up, and before you know it – you could be surrounded by toxic air that is poisonous to inhale.
How Can Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Be Prevented?
- 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 of your carbon monoxide detectors
Stay safe, don’t delay! Contact Sunburst Electric to update your smoke detectors.
Different Types Of Smoke Detectors
There are two main types of smoke detectors – ionization and photoelectric. Both types detect smoke effectively, however there are key differences in the way they function.
This type of smoke detector works by running a continuous current between two electrodes, which – in the presence of smoke – is interrupted. This interruption in the current causes the alarm to sound. One of the drawbacks of this method is that the device cannot distinguish between smoke and steam, which is why ionization smoke detectors are subject to false alarms when placed near kitchens or bathrooms. On the other hand, this type of smoke detector has the advantage when it comes to cost and responding quickly to flaming fires. You will also know when it is time to change the batteries, because the alarm will sound when it is time to do so.
Photoelectric smoke detectors respond to a reduction in light reaching an internal photocell by sounding an alarm. Responding faster to smoldering fires than their ionization counterparts, photoelectric smoke detectors are also less likely to trigger false alarms. The downside however is that this type of smoke detector will not alert you when its batteries are running low, as ionization smoke detectors do.
Both types of smoke detector should have their batteries refreshed at least once a year. We recommend selecting an easy-to-remember date, such as New Year’s Day or your birthday, where you go through your home, testing your detectors and changing their batteries.
Fire And Smoke Detector Safety Tips
- Install at least one smoke detector on each floor in your building
- Test that your smoke detectors and alarms are operational every 6-12 months
- Rechargeable batteries are not recommended – be sure to include battery powered back-up in your smoke detectors
- Do not place smoke detectors near doors, windows or drafts
- Ensure that smoke detectors are installed at least 15cm away from a wall and are centred firmly on the ceiling. Wall unit should be installed at least 15cm below the ceiling
- The best locations for smoke detectors are: in hallways, near bedrooms and at the top of stairwells
- Lightly dust or vacuum your smoke detectors from time to time to prevent dust build-up
- Do not pull the smoke detector off the wall in an attempt to turn off a false alarm
- Never remove the batteries unless you are changing them
- Aim to have at least one fire blanket and one fire extinguisher somewhere in your home, where all inhabitants know where to access them
- Discuss an emergency exit plan with your family in case the need ever arises
- DO NOT return to your home after evacuating during a fire emergency. Only return once trained fire and safety professionals have deemed it safe to do so
How Do I Test My Smoke Detector?
To test that your smoke detector is working, begin by pushing the ‘test’ button. If the alarm sounds, it means that the battery or electricity source are working properly. Next, place a lit candle or match 15cm beneath the smoke detector to test whether the alarm is successfully triggered; if not – try blowing out the match or candle to see whether the smoke is successful in triggering the alarm. If both these steps fail to set the alarm off, the smoke detector is not working properly and has failed the test. Arrange to have the unit fixed, the batteries replaced or the unit replaced altogether if necessary. It is important to ensure that these devices are working at all times – you never know when you might need them.
Contact Sunburst Electric to purchase and install high quality carbon monoxide and smoke detectors in your home.