CO Detectors Can Protect Against ‘Invisible 'Killer’

CO Detectors Can Protect Against ‘Invisible ‘Killer’

You will breathe easier this winter, while taking a big step toward protecting yourself and your family by installing carbon monoxide (or CO) detectors in your home.

This year, the Kane County Healthy Places Coalition, the Kane County Health Department and several local home improvement stores are partnering to promote the purchase of CO detectors and their proper installation.

You should know that CO is a colorless, odorless gas that is produced anytime fuel is burned and can cause serious illness or even death. That’s why it is known as the “invisible killer.”

Even in low concentrations, carbon monoxide can cause flu-like symptoms. Many appliances in your home can cause CO buildup, particularly if they are malfunctioning or improperly vented. Furnaces, water heaters, clothes dryers, stoves and ovens, and many other sources are common culprits. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the installation of a CO detector is perhaps the most effective step for protecting your family from CO poisoning.

“It is important to have a CO detector in your home to alert you if carbon monoxide gas is present, since it is poisonous. These detectors are inexpensive and give you time to correct the problem or call for help,” said Batavia Fire Department Lt. Casey Balsitis. “CO detectors can also warn you of other problems, such as malfunctioning battery backup devices for computers or sump pumps. These backup batteries can produce hydrogen gas and will cause a CO detector to alarm.”

In Batavia during 2016, the Batavia Fire Department has responded to 47 emergency calls related to CO. Most CO detectors last six years and are well worth the small investment. Remember to change your batteries every six months just like you do for smoke detectors. Further, your furnace and other fuel-burning appliances require regular maintenance. If you must use gas-powered generators, they need to be operated safely.

The Carbon Monoxide Alarm Detector Act mandates their use in Illinois. “Effective Jan. 1, 2007, every Illinois home is required to have at least one carbon monoxide alarm in an operating condition within 15 feet of every room used for sleeping purposes.”

CDC statistics show that CO poisoning is the leading cause of poison-related death in the United States and is responsible for approximately 450 deaths and 20,000 nonfatal injuries every year.

The Healthy Places Coalition is formed by participants from diverse aspects of the community, including the US Environmental Protection Agency, the Kane County Health Department, municipal governments, hospitals, fire departments, community advocacy groups, non-profits, private corporations, and many others.

More information about CO poisoning and its prevention is available on the CDC website To learn more about the Health Places Coalition, please visit

Carbon Monoxide Business Partners

  • Ace Hardware, 2144 W. Galena Blvd., Aurora
  • Ace Hardware, 994 N. Lake St., Aurora
  • Ace Hardware, 1901 W. Wilson St., Batavia
  • Ace Hardware, 617 W. State St., Geneva
  • Ace Hardware, 2650 E Main St., St. Charles
  • Ziegler Ace Hardware, Meadowdale Shopping Center, Carpentersville
  • Ziegler Ace Hardware, 215 N. Spring St., Elgin
  • Ziegler Ace Hardware, 1158 Lillian St., Elgin
  • Ziegler Ace Hardware, 301 Randall Road, South Elgin
  • Home Depot, 1250 N. Orchard Road, Aurora
  • Home Depot, 2111 S. Randall Road, Geneva
  • Lowe’s, 955 S. Randall Road, St. Charles