A Carbon Monoxide Detector Can Save Your Life!
When the issue of preparing for home safety arises, smoke detectors are among the first items that people purchase. However, it’s equally important that homes and businesses be protected from carbon monoxide gas with a carbon monoxide detector.
Carbon monoxide (CO) is a toxic odorless gas produced by combustion, and is lethal in high doses, or in smaller doses built up over time. It’s known as the silent killer because it is undetectable without the aid of sensors, known as carbon monoxide detectors. Sources of carbon monoxide gas could include automobiles, home heating systems, and gas stoves. Due in part to a public service program, the public has become aware of the dangers of carbon monoxide gas leaks in the last 10 to 15 years. Some states, such as
California and New York, have even established carbon monoxide detector laws, making their installation mandatory.
A carbon monoxide detector monitors the amount of CO in an area, and sound a loud beeping alarm when levels get too high. There are many different types of detectors that fall over a wide price range, starting at around $15. The most expensive and sensitive type of CO alarm comes with electrolytic sensors. Colorimetric detectors work differently, monitoring the buildup of carbon monoxide over time. Metal oxide semiconductor sensors are useful because they detect other poisonous gasses that can buildup in the home. Some carbon monoxide detectors come as combination units that also detect smoke or heat from fires.
Generally, a carbon monoxide detector is battery powered. It is important to test the battery regularly, as with smoke detectors. Many detectors have a light that indicates when the battery is due for a change. Others emit a chirping sound distinguishable from the regular carbon monoxide detector alarm. Some CO detectors are hardwired into a home’s electrical system for continuous use, and often this type has a battery backup in case of power outage. This type of detector is more difficult to install than the battery operated counterparts.
Test Your Carbon Monoxide Detector Regularly
The sensors in a Carbon Monoxide Alarm has a limited life span, generally around two to five years. Test buttons on the alarm only check the battery and circuitry, and not the viability of the sensor. CO alarms should be tested with an external source of calibrated test gas during the manufacturer’s warranty period, and should be replaced per the manufacturer’s suggested length.
Popular brands of carbon dioxide detectors are manufactured by First Alert, BRK, and Kidde. Carbon monoxide detectors are available at department stores like Walmart and Target, as well as hardware stores like Lowe’s and Home Depot.
Installing A Carbon Monoxide Detector Is Simple
Proper placement in the home is important when installing a carbon monoxide detector. Some models have specific instructions, but in general a CO detector should be placed at the bottom or top of a wall because this is where gas tends to build up in a room when leaking. It’s also important that detectors are located at least 15 feet away from oil or gas appliances so that the device’s readings are not affected. It’s recommended that there be at least one CO detector per household, though homeowners may wish to expand coverage to bedrooms or beyond.
A CO detector is an important part of in-home safety, and fortunately it’s inclusion in homes is starting to become routine. All residents would be well-advised to install at least one carbon monoxide detector in their house.