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keyless cars and carbon monoxide

Over 17 million new vehicles are sold each year in the United States. Of that number, over half come standard with keyless ignition systems now. Maybe you even have one. To start a keyless ignition car, all you need to do is press a button on the dashboard if you have the fob in your pocket or purse. It’s convenient, easy…and can be dangerous.

As simple as pushing a button is, it’s even more simple to forget that your car is running when you get out – especially for busy, distracted drivers or the elderly. It can be a deadly convenience.

Sadly, over 2 dozen people have died from carbon monoxide poisoning in their homes since 2006 – as a direct result of leaving their keyless car running in an attached garage. And dozens more have been injured. Some have sustained permanent brain damage.

In this article, we’ll look at how you can protect yourself (and your family) from tragic carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning.

Be Careful With Your Keyless Car

Although driving a keyless car is completely safe, it can be easy to leave the car running without realizing it. If you’re preoccupied, you can exit the car with your key in hand – while the car continues to emit CO-laden exhaust. And it’s not just preoccupation. In some instances, people have forgotten to turn their keyless ignition completely off, thinking that having the key outside of the car means the engine has stopped.

  • Make it a habit to check that your car is completely turned off
  • If you’re driving a new car with a keyless ignition, familiarize yourself with it and read the owner’s manual
  • Keep yourself accountable so you don’t forget something that could cost your health (or your life)

Check Your Home

Your car isn’t the only source of carbon monoxide. There are other devices in your home that can cause a surge in CO if they malfunction. Carbon monoxide is produced when fossil fuels are burned. That makes your oven, grill, water heater, furnace, space heater, and any other natural gas-fueled appliance potential culprits. It’s no wonder the “silent killer” takes nearly 200 lives a year in the United States.

Making sure your car is turned off is an important step to take to prevent CO poisoning. What else should you do?

  • Get your heating and air unit inspected and cleaned at least once a year
  • Also once yearly, inspect other gas appliances for leaks and misfiring pilot lights
  • Install a carbon monoxide detector alarm in your home
  • This point bears repeating: install a CO detector (or a few, if your home is large)

Choose the Right Carbon Monoxide Detector

If levels are elevated for any reason, the right carbon monoxide detector will alert you in time. However, before you run to the hardware store, consider this:

The CO detectors available in “big box” stores provide only a minimal amount of protection. Some don’t alarm you until after unsafe levels (yes, I said “after”) are present and have been that way for some time. Depending on the model, you could be exposed for up to 2 hours before the alarm will sound.

You need a low-level CO detector to make sure you’re alarmed in time. Do 2 things:

  1. If you don’t have a low-level CO detector in your home, you need to get one. (Just Call Dale’s and we’ll take care of you!)
  2. If you haven’t had your gas heating and air system tune-up done yet this year, have us come out soon. We’ll make sure you’re safe. Our comprehensive heating system tune-up includes a thorough cleaning to maximize your comfort and efficiency. It also includes a CO test to check for leaks.

Stay safe at home. Turn off your keyless car, install a low-level CO detector, and make sure your appliances are working right. And, for help, Just Call Dale’s.