Do You Need A Carbon Monoxide Detector With Electric Heat?

You may have heard that heaters emit carbon monoxide into the air. With all the consequences and danger that carbon monoxide presents, you must be worried if the output of your electric heater is putting you at risk. We have researched this, and here is what you need to know.

No, you do not need a carbon monoxide detector with electric heat because devices that produce warmth through electricity do not emit these pollutants in the air. This means there is no toxic gas coming from these that would harm you.

So does that mean that you shouldn't worry about electric heat? Does it also mean you can leave an electric heater on while you sleep? We will answer these questions in the rest of this article, as well as other related things that might concern you. Continue reading. 

Why You Do Not Need A Carbon Monoxide (CO)Detector With Electric Heat

Carbon monoxide alarm on the ceiling

Carbon monoxide detectors are only needed when using any heating device that uses combustible materials to produce heat. An excellent example is a kerosene heater since it needs to burn kerosene to warm up a room. Other sources of this are boilers and water heaters. Cooking appliances such as gas stoves, grills, and ovens (a staple in every home) are also great examples. 

But when it comes to electric heaters such as electric fireplaces, electric stoves, and heating HVACs, you will not need any CO detectors as these appliances do not emit potential poisonous gas. These appliances only need electricity to function and do not use combustion in any process.

If you want, you can purchase CO detectors for your home if you do not have one yet, as they are reasonably cheap. This will help you monitor the CO levels in your home and will also be an additional step to home safety, as carbon monoxide is a highly flammable gas with serious health risks.

What Are The Dangers Of An Electric Heater?

Electric heater in the room

Yes, you do not need a CO detector when it comes to heat produced by electricity. But this does not mean that there are no dangers that electric heat poses to your health. Below are some of the most common health and safety hazards that electric heat could potentially bring users. 

Dries Up The Moisture In The Air

When it comes to electric heat, carbon monoxide shouldn't be a major concern, but how it can dry the air inside your home should be. When your electric heater is continuously running, it warms up the place, which causes to remove moisture, especially in unvented areas. 

Here are the effects dry air can have on the people inside the space.

Effects of dry air on the people inside the space, Do You Need A Carbon Monoxide Detector With Electric Heat?

  • It makes the skin, lips, throat, and cough dry
  • Irritates the vocal cords
  • Headache
  • Nose bleeds

But do not worry. You can prevent this from happening. Using a device like a humidifier will help balance the moisture loss due to the electric heater. Not only does it add vapor to the air, but it also helps in preserving wood and furniture.

But if you do not have one or the means to get one, you can use these alternative hacks below. 

  • Hanging wet clothes inside the room
  • Placing a cup or pot full of clean water around the space such as the table or at the top of the fireplace.
  • Have indoor plants
  • Use devices such as vaporizers or cool steam machines
  • Boiling water or cooking with the vent turned off

Makes Your Space A Danger Zone

According to U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, over 300 reported deaths are due to being electrified with electric heaters. This is why proper placement and care are necessary when using electric heaters.

For instance, since this is powered by electricity, avoid touching the device (especially the metal parts) when your hands are wet. You can get severely shocked, but this can also be a cause of fire, so avoid placing your electric heaters in places where it is near flammable materials. 

Data from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) shows that defective electric heaters are the second leading cause of fire in the nation. Defects are common in parts such as fans, wirings, and switches or functions like thermostats and temperature controls. 

So, ensure that the electric space heater you will buy has a UL mark. Also, investing in trusted and proven brands is better than buying cheap ones that may cost you more in the long run.

Wondering if your electric heater can cause condensation? Learn the answer by reading this post: Do Electric Heaters Cause Condensation?

What Should You Not Do With An Electric Heater?

Now that you are of the dangers that electric heaters can bring, here is a list of things that you should refrain from doing to stay safe and prolong the life of your device.

  • Do not plug the electric heater in an outlet where a lot of appliances are already plugged in. Avoid using extensions as your source of electricity also.
  • Do not forget to check the condition of the device before using it. Look at the condition of the cord, was it bitten by your pet? It may also be still wet from being soaked in spilled liquid. 

Do not know how to vent a gas water heater? Figure out how to properly do it here: How To Vent A Gas Water Heater In The Basement [Step By Step Guide]

Can Electric Heaters Cause Breathing Problems?

Modern electric infrared heater in the living room

Yes, electric heaters can cause breathing problems because of how dry it turns the air inside the space where you stay. Dry air can cause discomfort to the airways resulting in shortness of breath and dry coughing. Because of this, people with lung diseases should be aware of this to prevent any triggers to them.

Have you heard that basement walls need to breathe? Check out if this is true in this article: Do Basement Walls Need To Breathe?

Is It Safe To Sleep With An Electric Heater On?

Electric heater on the floor close up

Modern space heaters are okay to use while you are sleeping. They have advanced features like the adjustable thermostat and automatic shut off, which allows you to set the temperature that you want and the duration that the heater will run—things that are necessary to keep you safe while using the heating device.

Older versions of electric heaters that do not possess modern safety features are not advisable to be left running while you are asleep due to the potential health and safety risks that may happen when it is left unattended for a long time.

For example, children playing can accidentally knock down a portable heater standing on a carpet. The material may burn, and the next thing you know, the carpet is already in flames.  

If you cannot purchase a modern space heater yet, you can keep yourself warm while sleeping by wearing multiple layers of clothes, covering yourself with thick blankets, ensuring that your room is properly insulated, and keeping a hot water bottle with you.

In Summary

You do not need to have a carbon monoxide detector in your space if you are actively using an electric heater. Electric heaters do not produce and release this toxic gas into the air. Thus, no such element will be detected. 

The good thing about this is that you are not exposed and prone to the negative effects that carbon monoxide has, such as respiratory and pulmonary diseases.

However, you should not be at total ease because it can still have negitive effects on your body caused by air dryness. Prolonged exposure in a room heated by an electric device makes your skin and throat dry. Your vocal cords will also be irritated, along with headaches. Nose bleed may also be experienced. 

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