A Buyer’s Guide To Carbon Monoxide Detector
There are some things in this world that we are not aware of for we cannot see them nor smell them. Some of them are toxic and dangerous, and it’s not possible to protect ourselves from them if we wouldn’t detect their presence.
Carbon monoxide (CO), just like water, is tasteless and odorless. The only difference is carbon monoxide is a toxic gas while water is a healthy liquid. Carbon monoxide or “silent killer” is usually produced when a certain fuel-containing compound or carbon-based material is ignited and has undergone incomplete combustion. It is not only produced in ignited materials, but also in some of our appliances at home or even the vehicles we encounter on the road. Exposure to high levels of carbon monoxide can lead to poisoning that can inhibit the transportation of oxygen by the blood to the important organs in our body. If a high concentration of carbon monoxide is inhaled, it can cause dizziness, constant headache and vomiting, but if the amount inhaled is too high, it can be fatal. With these health effects, it is very important to detect if we are being exposed to carbon monoxide.
To lower the risk of carbon dioxide poisoning, we must maintain and take good care of our appliances at home. It may not prevent them from releasing carbon monoxide, but it will surely lessen it. Another way is by buying a carbon monoxide detector and installing it in your home. This device will alarm when high levels of toxic gas are being produced. Now, how will you know if a carbon monoxide detector is a good buy?
- Know the types of carbon monoxide detectors
Detectors can be battery-operated or plug-in. These two are good, but you should pick the one suitable for your household. Plug-in detectors are attached in outlets, thus it can be moved from one outlet to another. The only disadvantage of this kind of detector is that it consumes energy thus it can add to your electric bill and it will be troublesome when a power failure happens. On the other hand, battery-operated detectors are permanently attached on a specific place in your house. This is not quite a problem, unless the device malfunctions and a need to move the unit should be done. You are not limited to use only one kind of detector in your whole house. If you own a big one, you can install a combination of those for maximum protection. Those areas that are usually prone to gas escape should have a CO detector installed. Each floors of the house should also have at least one for more safety. When you’re going to use a combination of both detectors, it is best to have a battery backup for the plug-in ones.
- Sensors in a Carbon Monoxide Detector
A carbon monoxide detector can contain three kinds of sensor: (1) Biomimetic sensor, (2) Metal oxide semiconductor sensor, and (3) Electrochemical sensor. All of these are good sensors, but you, as a buyer, should pick the one that will suit your household best. Biomimetic sensor exhibits a color change in the gel when a high level of CO is being detected. It must be exposed to a CO-free environment to be reset. It can also be portable by putting it in CO detector cards. In this way, you’ll be safe even you are outside your house. On the other hand, metal oxide semiconductor and electrochemical sensor both uses electric current for detection. This consumes a lot of electricity, so using it in battery-operated ones is not very practical. With this requirement, it should always be used as a plug-in, and this will surely increase your electric bill. But it can be reset by just pulling it out on the outlet or pressing the off button, which is obviously easier than the biomimetic sensor. But weighing these advantages and disadvantages out, although biomimetic sensor is more user-friendly, metal oxide semiconductor and electrochemical sensor have alarms that you will surely need more when you’ll be installing it in your home. If it’s personal use only or you want to be protected when you’re out, a biomimetic sensor would be enough.
- Carbon monoxide detectors that can be linked together
It is important that the detectors around your home are linked together so if CO is detected at one part of the house, the whole house will be alarmed. Wherever your kids are, if they heard the alarm, they can immediately go out of their rooms and save themselves from inhaling a poisonous gas. And after the alarm, you can just put off one of them and the other will already stop from alarming.
- UL listed carbon monoxide detectors
Of course, the detector that will be installed in your homes should have an alarm so even if you’re asleep, you will still be notified by the carbon monoxide floating on the air. Detectors like these usually have a reset button so it would definitely not give the user a hard time.
- Dual detectors
Let’s erase the fallacy that CO detectors can also be smoke detectors and smoke detectors can be CO detectors. They are not the same, but, CO/smoke detectors are now being sold. It will be very practical if you’ll buy this kind of detector. At least, you can not only save your family from carbon monoxide exposure, but also in case of fires!
The average life span of a detector is usually 2 years, so it can be extended if we take good care of our detectors. We should test it monthly, to know if it still works well
We should not assume that we don’t need these kinds of detectors because it’s just a waste of money. We should not take the harm of carbon monoxide as a joke. Just because we don’t see, taste or feel the gas already mean that it is not harmful. That’s the point! We can’t see it, so we should be more careful. Better be safe than sorry!