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Carbon Monoxide – Choosing Protection

How to Choose a Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Because a safe home is the only option, we offer plenty of choices.

Now that you know a little more about the dangers of carbon monoxide, the next logical question is “what can I do to protect my home?”  Of course, before you go choosing your alarms, it helps to familiarize yourself with technology, features and other factors.

Things to look for in an alarm

We recommend choosing CO alarms that have the most accurate sensing technology available. CO alarms are designed to alert you when carbon monoxide levels have begun to accumulate over a period of time, and will sound before most people would experience any CO poisoning symptoms. The more accurate the alarm, the greater chance you and your family have of responding appropriately to the problem.

Below are key factors to look for when purchasing a CO alarm:
Electrochemical sensor: Alarms with electrochemical sensors are more stable during humidity and temperature changes and resist reacting to common household chemicals that may cause false readings. Kidde’s CO alarms include Nighthawk technology, which has been proven to be the world’s most accurate CO sensing technology based on claims by major manufacturers.
End-of-life warning: This feature alerts consumers when it’s time to replace the alarm. Kidde is the only major manufacturer who tests its CO alarms for long-term reliability, and whose alarms have a built-in end-of-life feature.
UL or CSA Listed: CO alarms should meet the strict third-party standards set by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or Canadian Standards Association (CSA). A UL Listed or CSA Listed label should be printed on the product’s packaging. Kidde is the only major manufacturer whose CO alarms currently meet the strict standards set forth by both UL and CSA.

 

Also, be sure to consider these major features:

Accuracy: Look for a statement on the package about the alarm’s accuracy level. If the CO alarm is UL Listed, then the accuracy statement will have been certified by UL, too.
Battery-Operated: Consumers who live in areas prone to power outages or who own a gas-powered generator should consider a battery-powered CO alarm with a backlit digital display. Battery-powered units offer 24-hour-a-day CO monitoring when power is interrupted. The backlit digital display allows the user to view the CO level in the dark. The alarm can also be placed on a shelf or wall or moved from room to room.
Digital Display: A digital display screen clearly shows the level of CO detected in the home, and updates the reading every 15 seconds.
Peak-Level Memory: This feature records the highest level of CO present. Knowing the CO level in the home can help emergency personnel determine treatment.
Plug-in with Battery Backup: Easy to plug into any electrical socket, these alarms include a 9V battery for protection during short-term power outages.
Voice Warning: This feature clearly announces the threat present in the home, in addition to emitting the traditional alarm beep. It is often a feature of combination smoke/CO alarms.

Placement and Maintenance

So you’ve selected the right solutions for your home. Now comes the important part: knowing where to place them and how to properly maintain them.

Install at least one CO alarm on every floor and in sleeping areas.
Make sure CO alarms are at least 15 feet away from cooking or heating appliances to prevent false alarms.
Don’t cover or obstruct the unit. Test the CO alarm monthly.
Replace CO alarms every 7 to 10 years (depending on your model) to benefit from the latest technology upgrades.

 

Adapted from Kidde.com Visit www.Kidde.com for more great tips and a full line of fire protection products.

4 Simple Checks for Winter Savings

During the cold winter months, homeowners in most of the country find it necessary to turn on the heaters to keep warm. You can save energy when heating your home by taking the time to winterize for maximum energy savings.

Create a Winter Plan

Due to increasing energy costs, winter heating will consume an increasingly larger portion of a household’s energy budget. That’s why it’s important to check your home to insure that your heating dollars aren’t being wasted.

The end of summer and the beginning of fall is a perfect time to get your home ready for the ensuing cold-weather months. Use the steps listed below to help formulate a plan to winterize.

Check for Leaks

Weather stripping and caulking are the least expensive, simplest, most effective way to reduce energy waste in the winter. Improperly sealed homes can waste 10% to 15% of a home’s heating dollars.

  1. Check around doors and windows for leaks and drafts. Add weather-stripping or caulk any holes that allow heat to escape. Make sure doors seal properly.
  2. If your windows leak badly, consider replacing them with newer, more efficient ones. Remember that replacing windows can be expensive – it could take you quite a while to recover your costs from the energy savings alone.
  3. Every duct, wire or pipe that penetrates the walls, ceiling, or floor has the potential to waste energy. Plumbing vents can be especially bad, since they begin below the floor and go all the way through the roof. Seal them all with caulking or weather-stripping.
  4. Electric wall plugs and switches allow cold air in. Pre-cut, foam gaskets that fit behind the switch plate can effectively prevent leaks.
  5. Don’t forget to close the damper on your fireplace if there is no fire burning. This acts as an open window.
  6. Examine your house’s heating ducts for leaks. Since you don’t see them every day, ducts can leak for years without you knowing it. They can become torn or crushed and flattened. Have damaged ducts repaired or replaced. Duct tape can work for a short time, but after a while, it dries up and becomes useless.

Check Your Insulation

Insulation reduces the heat flowing out of your home during the winter months. Ensuring that your home is properly insulated will help your save energy when the temperatures drop.

  1. Insulate your attic. In older homes, thin can be the most cost-efficient way to cut home heating costs. Prior to energy efficiency standards, homes were often built with little or no insulation. As a result, a large amount of heat is lost through walls, floors, and ceilings.  The amount of insulation that you should install depends upon where you live. Insulation is measured in R-values, or the resistance to heat flow. The higher the R-value, the less resistant the product is to heat flow. Ask the salesperson at your local hardware store about the recommended R-values for your location.
  2. Weather-strip and insulate your attic hatch or door to prevent warm air from escaping out of the top of your house. Since warm air rises, this type of heat escape is common.
  3. Seal holes in the attic that lead down into the house, such as open wall tops and duct, plumbing, or electrical runs. Any hole that leads from a basement or crawlspace to an attic is a big energy waster. Cover and seal them with spray foam and rigid foam board if necessary.

 Review  your Heating System

Autumn is the perfect time to perform routine maintenance on your home’s heating system to ensure that it is running efficiently and effectively during the winter.

  1. Replace your heater’s air filter monthly. Since your heater will have to work less hard, it will run more efficiently. Cleaning and removing dust from vents or along baseboard heaters will have the same effect.
  2. If your heating system is old, you might consider updating it. A pre-1977 gas furnace is probably 50 percent to 60 percent efficient today. Modern gas furnaces, on the other hand, achieve efficiency ratings as high as 97 percent. Replacing an old heating system can cut your natural gas use nearly in half!
  3. Use your set-back thermostat if you have one. If you don’t have one, get one. A set-back thermostat allows you to automatically turn down the heat when you’re away at work or when you’re sleeping. you can then boost the temperature to a comfortable level when you need it. It takes less energy to warm a cool home than to maintain a warm temperature all day. Using a set-back thermostat can cut heating costs from 20% to 75%.Reverse the switch on your ceiling fans so they blow upward. This is especially valuable in high ceiling rooms, where heat that naturally rises is forced back down into the room.
  4. Make sure all hearing vents are opened and unblocked by furniture or other items. This will ensure that the air is evenly distributed through the home.