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Most homes have at least one smoke detector installed, and many cities require that at least one be on each level of a home. Some districts even require them to be placed within a specific distance of each sleeping area of the home. Far fewer homes have a carbon monoxide detector. Many people are unaware they even exist.

Carbon monoxide detectors are a critically important piece of equipment that monitors the levels of carbon monoxide in your home and sounds if those levels become too high, putting you and your family at risk. Every year, as many as 15,000 people require emergency medical care for carbon monoxide exposure, according to the Centers for Disease Control, and 500 of those people die.

Common household sources for carbon monoxide include your gas stove or water heater, power generators, space heaters, gas furnaces, or gas line leaks. Attached garages can also be a source of carbon monoxide.

Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and very dangerous. Often people are unaware they have been exposed. Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are similar to the flu, including headache, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, fatigue, and ultimately loss of consciousness and death.

You can protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning by ensuring your appliances are professionally installed when necessary. If you install your own appliances, do so carefully according to instructions. Have your heating system serviced and inspected annually. Avoid using gas-powered appliances, including power generators, in or near your home. Finally, install a quality carbon monoxide detector, like those sold at Sears.

Sears has carbon monoxide detectors to fit every budget, including talking and hardwired carbon monoxide detectors. A carbon monoxide detector should be placed in the hallway near each sleeping area, and great care should be taken to avoid covering it with drapery or furniture. Batteries should be regularly changed every six months, preferably when the clock is changed at daylight savings time.

Having a carbon monoxide detector does not eliminate the need for a smoke detector unless you have purchased a combination carbon monoxide-smoke detectors . Make sure you have an effective smoke detectors with fresh, functioning batteries that are changed every six months to protect your family in case of fire.

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