Why it’s important to install a carbon monoxide detector
Carbon monoxide, commonly abbreviated to CO, is an extremely dangerous toxic gas. It is made when combustion is incomplete. Without a detector, you won’t know that it is being released, as it doesn’t have a smell or anything that you will notice. If you inhale it then the gas can get into the bloodstream and causes lack of oxygen to the brain. Sometimes the main symptoms are confused with the flu or other signs of illness. CO poisoning can make you disorientated, too, so it is hard to know what to do if you are exposed.
In some cases, CO poisoning can be fatal. This means that being able to detect it, act, and get out of the area is absolutely vital. For the sake of the cost of a detector, it is not worth any sort of risk.
Carbon monoxide exposure limits
The effect on health is not guaranteed between 1 and 70 ppm. In most cases, this won’t cause any symptoms. The maximum exposure to CO for an 8-hour workday is 35ppm. If levels reach 70 ppm and increase you may experience a headache, fatigue or nausea. High levels of 800ppm and over will result in severe symptoms, and even death within 2-3 hours.
Features to consider when choosing a carbon monoxide detector
As you can see from the information above, there is no point taking any risks with your carbon monoxide detector. In this section, we’re looking at the best features to consider when choosing the best carbon monoxide detector for you.
Type of sensor
Most of the best carbon monoxide detectors, including our editor’s choice model, use electrochemical sensors. These are gas detectors which reduce the target gas at an electrode and then measure the current, which shows the gas level. This is a very reliable form of sensor. The First Alert Dual-Power Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm is an example of a product with this type of sensor.
Other types of sensors include metal oxide semiconductor and biomimetic types.
The sensors may need power, and alarms will definitely need some form of power. There are different ways that power can be provided. Some products have exceptionally long batteries, for instance, the Universal Security Instruments 10 Year Carbon Monoxide Alarm will last for an incredible 10 years without needing a new battery.
You can buy both battery and hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
Some items plug straight into mains power, which is a good way to power your detector. If you do go for this option, try and get one with a backup battery system so it will even work if your power fails.
The Kidde Tamper Resistant Plug-In Carbon Monoxide Detector Alarm
is an example of this.
Does it come with a built-in smoke detector?
Some of the products have been designed to have both a smoke detector and a carbon monoxide detector within the same casing. This has its pros and cons, but is a good way to save money and ensures that you can test for both in the same product and improve the safety of your home. Products such as the First Alert 2-in-1 Z-Wave Wireless Smoke Detector & Carbon Monoxide Alarm include both at great value for money.
We truly live in the age of smart technology. It may be that your product can connect to Nest or Alexa. Our editor’s choice, the Nest Protect, is one such example of a product with this capability. It is not vital that your CO detector can do this but it is a good safety feature to get alerts on your phone and connect to other types of alarms and detectors, for example.
Is it UL-listed?
UL listing is an independent testing system which makes sure that your detector or alarm has been approved for its safety of use in the USA. This is a good way to ensure that the product you buy has been independently tested and approved.
CO measurement range and accuracy
Most of the products have petty good accuracy levels. All are accurate enough to tell you when your levels have risen to a point where you may find yourself in danger. Some needs, such as industrial uses of carbon monoxide detectors, mean that a measurement range and accuracy need to be specified. The PPM ratings on your carbon monoxide detector will be listed.
These products also have optimal temperatures at which they work. If you are using your device in a working environment for instance and the temperature is high, it might be worth checking this to see if your detector will still be performing at its premium level.
Dimensions and portability
The dimensions of your chosen CO detector will determine the best place to install it. Larger CO detectors won’t be very good as a portable carbon monoxide detector.
Smaller, more compact models will be great for things like industrial uses like building sites.
These smaller units are not suitable home carbon monoxide detectors. We’ve found the UEi Test Instruments CO71A Carbon Monoxide Detector
to be the best portable CO detector. It is pocket-sized and great for taking out and about.
CO detector installation and maintenance
Ideally, you should have CO detectors in each room of your home. This ensures that the safety has been thoroughly considered. The ideal place to install is five feet from the ground. The only maintenance which is required is regular testing to make sure the battery is still working. This usually only involves pressing one button and then the alarm will be set off as a test.