Make sure your carbon monoxide detector is working before the weekend snow hits

With the expected snowfall, Colorado residents should make sure their carbon monoxide detector is functioning properly.

Greg Pixley, captain for the Denver Fire Department, called carbon monoxide the “silent killer.” You won’t know it’s there until it’s too late.

“You can’t smell it, you can’t taste it,” Pixley said. “Oftentimes, you become sick before you’re aware that there might be carbon monoxide in the home.

Furnace vents require proper influx of air from the outside and exhaust. If this system malfunctions, it can become dangerous for homeowners. Pixley said that in general, there’s not a significant issue with vents being covered, given that the exhaust is hot enough to melt the snow.

“However, there could be circumstances where if someone was experiencing a malfunction of some type, that it could be caused by inefficient exhaust on the furnace vents or inefficient intake on the furnace vents,” Pixley said.

If the vents aren’t functioning properly and blocked by snow, the exhaust will build up in the house posing a threat to the residents. In a functional furnace system, the exhaust would flow out of the house, but if that is blocked, the smoke will build up, and with it, the carbon monoxide.

Pixely encourages all residents to have a carbon monoxide detector. It will give homeowners enough warning to know something is wrong and call for help.

Carbon monoxide detectors are available at your local hardware store, and can be installed on your own. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, detectors should be placed on a wall approximately 5 feet above the floor.

The detector can be placed on the ceiling, but not near or over a fireplace or flame producing appliance. If your home has multiple floors, each needs its own detector. Homeowners should place the detector somewhere that will be loud enough to wake you up.

Similar to smoke detectors, these carbon monoxide alarms require regular testing and cleaning to function properly. The EPA recommends replacing the battery at least once a year.

“If someone noticed that their carbon monoxide detector was going off, they’d want to call us immediately,” Pixley siad.

Denver Fire Department’s main office phone is 720-913-3474. If you are experiencing an emergency, call 911.

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