Frequently asked questions
Carbon monoxide (CO) can be a deadly killer. This odorless, colorless gas, known by its chemical symbol CO, is the leading cause of accidental poisoning deaths in the United States each year. More than 1,500 people are killed annually and another 10,000 are injured. Carbon monoxide is also the leading cause of death in fire-related accidents. The deadly gas often overcomes victims before they can respond to warnings from a smoke. Another 3,000 to 4,000 people die of carbon monoxide poisoning in fire-related incidents each year.
When inhaled, CO combines with hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying substance in red blood cells. This reaction blocks the hemoglobin from taking up oxygen from the lungs. Lack of oxygen causes cells and tissues in the body to quickly die. CO is released from the blood at a slow rate so it’s almost impossible to get rid of it without prompt medical treatment.
Carbon monoxide is the nation's leading indoor air pollution problem. It is produced when fuels containing carbon are burned in areas where there is too little oxygen or as a result of burning fuels at very high temperatures. Death and injury can occur when CO escapes from sources such as furnaces, space heaters, stoves, ovens and automobiles where there is improper ventilation. Learn more about the sources of CO in your home and the precautions you can take to avoid exposure to carbon monoxide.
The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches, nausea, fatigue and dizziness. They often lead to a misdiagnosis of the flu. Recent medical journal reports found that nearly one in four people diagnosed with the flu was actually suffering from CO poisoning. Medical evidence has also shown that heart attacks and other thoracic complaints have been correlated with high levels of carbon monoxide in the environment. Low-level exposures are especially hazardous to sensitive populations including infants, children, unborn babies, the elderly, and those medical problems such as anemia and heart or lung disease.
Every owner of a home, recreational vehicle or boat should seriously consider buying a carbon monoxide alarm as an important safeguard against the threats of CO poisoning. CO alarms will greatly reduce the number of deaths from CO accidents, as well as improve the quality of life for all.
Unlike some carbon monoxide detectors or alarms from other brands, all COSTAR® carbon monoxide detectors were tested false alarm free and the most reliable alarm by several labs including Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL Report 40556).
If it is over five years old, it needs to be replaced with a new carbon monoxide alarm.
No. Smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors serve different purposes. However, carbon monoxide is present in fires and the COSTAR® CO alarm will detect the presence of carbon monoxide.
You should buy a new carbon monoxide detector after six years of operation.
Yes. A newborn is very sensitive to CO poisoning and you should take additional care for the infant’s safety.