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Carbon Monoxide Detectors: A Simple Step That Can Save Lives

Each year, 20,000 people in the U.S. are poisoned by carbon monoxide, and approximately 400 people die, many in their own homes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Carbon monoxide detetectors - a simple step that save your life

Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas, but it can be very dangerous to your health and sometimes fatal. You have no way of knowing if carbon monoxide is leaking in your home unless you have a carbon monoxide detector.

Not all states require homes to have carbon monoxide alarms, but installing one can be the difference between life and death.

Carbon monoxide is produced whenever a material burns. Homes with fuel-burning appliances or attached garages are more likely to have carbon monoxide problems. Sources of carbon monoxide, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), include these:

  • Unvented kerosene and gas space heaters
  • Leaking chimneys and furnaces
  • Back-drafting from furnaces
  • Gas water heaters, wood stoves, and fireplaces
  • Gas stoves
  • Generators and other gasoline-powered equipment
  • Automobile exhaust from attached garages
  • Tobacco

Carbon monoxide poisoning can occur when the gas is trapped in poorly ventilated, contained spaces where people are. If you breathe in too much carbon monoxide, your ability to absorb oxygen can be compromised, resulting in serious tissue damage.

Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can include a dull headache, weakness, dizziness, and nausea as initial symptoms. High-level poisoning can result in vomiting, shortness of breath, confusion, blurred vision, and loss of consciousness.

When carbon monoxide problems slowly develop in a home, victims often mistake their symptoms for the flu. When carbon monoxide levels are higher and develop more quickly, for example, from generators in homes, mental confusion can set in rapidly. Victims may lose muscle control without being aware of the flu-like symptoms and will probably succumb to poisoning if they are not rescued.

Preventing carbon monoxide poisoning in your home is as simple as installing a carbon monoxide detector in the hallway near every area of your home where people sleep. Carbon monoxide detectors are designed to alarm before potentially life-threatening levels of carbon monoxide are reached.

Here are other things you can do to reduce the chance of carbon monoxide poisoning in your home:

  • Have your heating system (as well as chimneys and flues) professionally inspected and serviced every year.
  • Do not use charcoal inside your house or your garage, vehicle, or tent.
  • In an attached garage, even if the door is open, never leave a car running.
  • Do not operate unvented fuel-burning appliances in a room where people are sleeping.
  • Do not use a portable generator or any other gasoline engine-powered tool in or near any house, garage, or other enclosed space.

 

Conserving at Home with Insulation Improvements

We talked about air leaks and how air moves throughout the house. We will take a look at what insulation is and how important it is to conservation. Heat transmission in the home how insulation can help your homeis the leading cause of winter heat loss and the loss of cool air during summer months. Most single family homes lose more heat through transmission than they do through air leakage. Insulation slows heat transmission through the home’s floors, walls, ceiling, and roof.

Insulation performs the following thermal actions:

  1. Conserves energy by slowing heat transmission.
  2. Reduces the size of heating and cooling equipment that a building needs according to the insulation’s R-value.
  3. Prevents wintertime moisture by preventing low interior surface temperatures.

Insulation also carries with it the following benefits:

  1. Reduces noise.
  2. Helps slow down and prevent air leakage and water vapor transmission.
  3. Helps improve a building’s fire resistance.

Insulation is installed in a building’s cavities, attached to the building frame, or attached to the building’s exterior surfaces. What are some of the characteristics of insulation? Insulation slows heat transmission in an important way. It reduces heat radiation and air convection within the cavities where it is installed. Insulating materials are not as dense as other building materials which are conductors. There are millions of tiny air pockets within the fibers or bubbles in plastic foam insulation. These fibers and tiny bubbles help to slow down the process of heat transmission. The density of the insulation affects its R-value.

Insulation’s ability to slow down heat flow is measured by the R-value. The R-value of any building assembly is determined by the following factors:

  1. Type and density of the insulation.
  2. Air leakage and convection through voids, gaps, or low insulation density.
  3. Water’s presence within the cavities

INSULATION R-VALUES PER INCH

Fiberglass batts, Blown, Board – 2.6 – 4.2
Cellulose Blown – 3.2 – 3.6
Mineral Wool Batts – 2.6 – 4.4
Vermiculite or Pearlite – 2.1 – 2.4
Expanded Polystyrene – 3.6 – 4.4
Extruded Polystyrene – 5.0
Polyisocyanurate Board – 5.6 – 7.6

R-values vary by insulation type, density, and the quality of insulation.

Insulation plays an important role in energy conservation. You can use all the green material you want to use and seal and caulk every split and crack you can, but if  you have no insulation, you have accomplished nothing. When is the last time you have taken a look in your attic? Chances are that if you need to add insulation to your attic, there are other places where it may need to be added, but the attic is the first place to start. You can contact your local contractor for an inspection to see if your insulation needs to be updated.

The Benefits of Owning a Home Air Purifier

If you watch television, listen to the radio, or surf the internet, there is a good chance that you have heard of air purifiers. They are electronic machines that work to make indoor air healthier. This is done by trapping harmful air particles in the filters or collection grids—making your air healthier and easier to breathe. What are the benefits of having a home air purifier?

Air purifiers work to eliminate dangerous or unhealthy contaminants from the air. This is a great benefit for young children in the home, the elderly, and those with allergies. Having cleaner air in your home contributes to improved health and results in fewer illnesses as well as promoting a greater sense of well being. For those with asthma, the purifier helps to reduce the flare-up of asthma attacks. Many air purifiers also remove smells and odors from cooking or from those who smoke indoors. Pet dander, dust mite feces, pollen, and other airborne irritants are among the impurities removed from the air—providing you with an environment of clean, fresh air.

Some people do not purchase air purifiers because they feel that the cost is prohibitive, but purifiers come in a number of different makes and models with various options. Prices can range from $29.99-$300.00 for smaller, portable models to several thousand dollars for a central, whole-house air purifier. Once  you decide what you want an air purifier to do in  your home, you can explore the options. With a little research (which can be done easily online), you should be able to find at least one air purifier that is within your price range. Can you really put a price tag on clean, healthy, and breathable air?

As great as air purifiers are, it is important to remember one thing: you cannot reap the benefits of owning one if you do not use it. There are many individuals who make the purchase but do not properly use their air purifiers if they even use them at all. In most cases,  air purifiers work best when used all the time. Constant use allows your air purifier to continuously remove the air particles floating around inside your home or inside a particular room. If you make the decision to purchase an air purifier, be sure you actually use it.

Because of all the benefits in healthier living that are provided by air purifiers, isn’t it time for you to consider purchasing one for your home. You will find that it is one of the best purchases you have ever made.

Air Purifiers: The Importance of Filters

When it comes to purchasing an air purifier, many individuals are concerned with the cost.  While it is important to find a product that you can afford, you need to think about more than the price. In fact, it is important to examine not only the air purifier as a whole but also its parts as well. When it comes to air purifier parts, you should focus on the filters used.

Most air purifiers use filters, but not all do. There are a number of air purifiers on the market that are filterless. This type of air purifier uses a collection grid instead of a filter, and it just needs to be wiped off to clean it. If you are looking for a low maintenance air purifier, you might want to think about purchasing an air purifier that is filterless. Despite being easier to maintain, they are usually more expensive; however,  you may find that it is worth the price in the long run.

If you choose to purchase an air purifier that uses a filter, it is important to examine the type of filter it uses. Hepa filters are one of the better types of filters available. Why are HEPA filters better? The manufacturers who make HEPA filters must abide by a number of different rules and regulations which are imposed by the Department of Energy. Because of these strict rules and regulations,  Hepa filters are almost twice as effective as most other filters when it comes to trapping bacteria or harmful air particles. Despite being more expensive than other types of filters, they will prove to be worth the extra cost.

There are a number of air purifiers on the market today that have filters which only need to be cleaned with a vacuum cleaner, but the majority of air purifier filters need to be replaced, so it is wise to know which type you have and whether you need to replace it or simply clean it with your vacuum cleaner. Replacement filters usually need to be changed about once a year, but some filters will last as long as three years; some last only a few months. Since replacement parts impact the cost of owning an air purifier, it is important that you determine the ongoing maintenance costs before making your air purifier purchase.

By keeping the above mentioned points in mind you should not only be able to purchase a quality air purifier but one that is affordable.