If you are charging your golf cart in your garage, you need to be aware of the dangers that older golf cart charging units may present.
Lead batteries that charge your golf cart do not emit carbon monoxide (CO), a colorless and odorless gas that can harm us if breathed in. However, they do emit hydrogen. Like carbon monoxide, the hydrogen is emitted from the golf cart charger, and can then be sucked inside the home if the AC air handler is located in the garage. Because hydrogen is colorless and odorless, the owner does not realize what is happening. Symptoms of hydrogen poisoning can include headache, nausea, difficult breathing and vertigo. The effects of long-term exposure are not fully known.
Although older model golf cart chargers are most often the cause, some owners in Florida have encountered the problem with the keyless ignition system of newer golf carts. It is possible to walk away from the golf cart, thinking it is shut off when it is not. Again, through the AC handlers in the garage, the golf cart can emit hydrogen that can enter the AC system inside the home.
Golf cart batteries need to be replenished with water. If they are left alone on the charger and water is not added, hydrogen is emitted, so you should make sure your detectors cover this concern. Although modern chargers will automatically shut off when fully charged, this is not true of some of the older chargers. These chargers, which are prevalent among golf cart communities, have been the source of recent calls to fire departments throughout Palm Beach County.
Remember, if older chargers are being used, the cart should be in a well-ventilated area and checked periodically by a professional mechanic. In addition, make sure your detection system includes carbon monoxide and hydrogen alarms as part of your home system.
Always charge your golf cart in the open air.