Bob Vila Radio: The #1 Cause of Poisonings in America?

Homeowners rightfully fear the idea of a carbon monoxide leak, but too few take the prudent, necessary step to install a carbon monoxide detector. Here's what you need to know.

By Bob Vila | Updated Aug 20, 2017 6:11 PM

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What’s the number one cause of poisoning deaths in America?  It’s carbon monoxide (CO).

Carbon Monoxide Safety




An odorless and colorless gas that forms as a byproduct of combustion, carbon monoxide is the reason you need to ventilate fuel-burning appliances, including the furnace, water heater, and clothes dryer, among others. Carbon monoxide is also the reason that you should have CO detectors installed throughout your home.

CO detectors come in three main styles—hardwired, plug-in, and battery operated. Even better are hardwired models equipped with a battery backup. No matter which type of detector you choose to install, make sure to do so on or near the ceiling, given that CO rises.

One other important point: CO detectors don’t last forever. Before you buy, check the package for the date of manufacture.  If it’s already been stashed in a warehouse for more than 5 years, look for another detector.

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