Filed under: Electrical, Energy Conservation, Workplace Safety
A lot of us worry about carbon monoxide silently and invisibly building up inside our homes, so naturally, we make sure to stay safe with carbon monoxide detectors. But from the business/public safety standpoint, have you ever realized that CO can easily reach dangerous levels in garages and warehouses, too? Any enclosed area that plays host to vehicles and machinery that run on (read: burn) natural gas, wood, coal, or petroleum products can develop deadly high concentrations of carbon monoxide.
In these settings, one answer is to keep ventilation fans running at all times, constantly circulating air so that CO doesn’t have the chance to build up. This generally does the job, but it can also leave facility owners with hefty electric bills, as well as cause an undue amount of wear and tear on the vent fans, which will inevitably need to be replaced every few years when they burn out.
So it’s sort of a Catch 22. If you don’t monitor and control carbon monoxide levels, you put yourself, your employees, and your customers at risk for CO poisoning – or even death. But if you responsibly keep tabs on things and take measures toward maintaining safely breathable air, you’re going to significantly lighten your wallet, as well as consume a lot more electricity than you probably need to. What’s a business owner/property manager to do?
Check out this 3M™ Macurco™ Carbon Monoxide Detector and Fan Controller, that’s what. This CO detection unit actually wires into your fan control system, so that your ventilation units only need to run when a certain level of carbon monoxide is detected in the ambient air. As long as levels remain safe, your fans stay off. But as soon as elevated CO levels are detected, this unit automatically fires up the fans, and leaves them running until the air has been adequately cleared. As a result, the 3M™ Macurco™ control system not only saves lives, but your utilities budget and fan components as well.
How’s that for a happy medium?
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According to the Journal of the American Medical Association, carbon monoxide is responsible for approximately 15,000 emergency room visists and roughly 500 deaths per year in the United States alone. I don’t know about you, but it seems to me that those figures shouldn’t be so high, considering how dangerous the average person knows carbon monoxide is. But as the old saying goes, “out of sight, out of mind.” Being that CO is invisible, scent-free and otherwise undetectable, many of us don’t give the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning the thought that we should. In far too many cases, it takes a tragedy to make people realize just how dangerous this “silent killer” is.
Because most carbon monoxide-related fatalities occur overnight while the victims sleep, it’s incredibly important to install carbon monoxide detectors near bedrooms and other sleeping areas. While early warning signs of CO poisoning include tangible effects like nausea, headache, and flu-like symptoms, people who are asleep at onset are oftentimes completely unaware of them, and continue to sleep right through the more advanced stages of carbon monoxide exposure that lead to deep unconsciousness, convulsions, and finally heart and lung failure. You can greatly reduce your risk by ensuring that you’re awakened as soon as carbon monoxide begins infiltrating your home. Similar to smoke alarms, CO detectors sense dangerous levels of carbon monoxide in the air, and then sound an alarm that wakes a home’s occupants and warns them of danger well before the gas has a chance to take its toll.
It doesn’t matter if you live in a house, condo, or apartment building: all of these structures have the risk of accumulating carbon monoxide. Everything from mailfunctioning furnaces and fireplaces to gas stoves and vehicles running in garages can cause CO to build to unsafe levels. If you’re one of the lucky few who already have carbon monoxide detectors wired into key locations in your home, then you’re ready to go; as long as you’re properly maintaining the detectors, you should be well protected. But if you’ve hesitated to install a carbon monoxide alarm because of the installation factor, don’t put it off any longer. The Kidde Nighthawk Plug-In carbon monoxide detector has all the benefits of a conventional CO alarm, but plugs right into any wall outlet, so there aren’t any installation hassles: no hardwiring, no drilling holes for screws – just instant protection.