Have you ever wondered just how a carbon monoxide detector works ?
Well we have and we want to help demistify just how a carbon monoxide detector works, and why it is that you should have them in your home.
In this post we will go over some typical causes of carbon monoxide buildup, how different carbon monoxide detectors work, and why you need to have them in your home!
A carbon monoxide detector is an electronic device, often connected to an alarm system, that detects when levels of this dangerous gas get to levels in your home where they could pose a danger. Since you will not be able to smell or otherwise detect carbon monoxide it is essential that you have a system in place to warn you and your family in the event that there is a dangerous level of it in your home. The symptoms that carbon monoxide poisoning cause are similar to those of the flu or a severe cold, which means that even when you start to feel sick you probably won't immediately think of carbon monoxide poisoning as being the culprit. Eventually confusion and drowsiness will become very pronounced, then you will fall asleep but won't be waking up again. Carbon monoxide poisoning is a major threat, and if you care about your family then you will do whatever you can to protect them from this silent and invisible killer.
What Causes A Buildup Of Carbon Monoxide?
Carbon monoxide is a naturally occurring gas that is harmless below a certain level. However when a source of combustion is present in an area that is not well ventilated oxygen will be used up and carbon monoxide levels will begin to rise. Common causes of carbon monoxide poisoning include gas heaters, propane powered equipment, and gas powered vehicles and equipment. People often don't realize just how dangerous a buildup of carbon monoxide can be, and they don't realize how quickly it can happen. Without the use of a carbon monoxide detector you won't have the warning you need to get yourself and your family out safely and in time.
How Does A Carbon Monoxide Detector Work?
There are many different types of carbon monoxide detectors, the one you choose should be one that you trust with the lives of your family, because that is literally what is at stake when it comes to the threat of carbon monoxide poisoning. While cost may be a consideration always remember that in life you typically get what you pay for. If you opt for a cheaper carbon monoxide detector then you likely won't get as good of protection as you would from a higher priced one. With that being said if you cannot afford a more expensive carbon monoxide detector then having a cheap one is far better than having none at all.
The simplest and least expensive type of carbon monoxide detector you are going to find is called an opto-chemical sensor. These use a chemical reaction that turns the color of a pad a different color when carbon monoxide reaches dangerous levels. The problem with this type of sensor is that it does not change colors until carbon monoxide levels are already approaching a danger level. On top of that there isn't an audible alarm that will be triggered. So unless you make it a habit of checking on carbon monoxid detectors on a regular basis this is probably not the correct type of carbon monoxide detector for you.
Biomimetic carbon monoxide detector
A biomimetic carbon monoxide detector uses a chemical reaction to indicate that there are elevated levels of carbon monoxide present. The color of the sensor will gradually get darker as higher levels of carbon monoxide are present. This is a market improvement over the opto-chemical sensor which will only alert you to the danger, not to the extent of that danger. The battery life for this type of carbon monoxide detector is usually 2 to 3 years, and they have a working life of about 6 years. One thing to keep in mind about biomimetic carbon monoxide detectors is that they are considered to be the most reliable type of carbon monoxide detector. Testing has shown that they are very good at detecting elevated levels of carbon monoxide, and they have never been show to provide a false alarm.
Electrochemical carbon monoxide detector
An electrochemical carbon monoxide detector is in fact a type of fuel cell designed to maintain a certain current level instead of actually producing electricity. The system is designed so that when the type of gas being measured remains at normal levels the current that passes through it remains constant. Should that as ratio begin to rise it will disrupt the current thus triggering an alarm. A semiconductor carbon monoxide detector tin dioxide in a ceramic base that is then monitored by a sensor. When carbon monoxide levels reach a heightened level the current is disrupted which triggers an alarm. The main issue with this type of carbon monoxide detector is that it has a high power requirement, and it can also be quite expensive. Because of this you probably should opt for a different type of carbon monoxide detector when choosing one for your home.
When It Comes To The Safety Of Your Family You Can Never Be Too Careful
Anyone that cares about their family will realize that it's far too easy to overlook a potential danger and carbon monoxide is one of those dangers. What makes it so much of a threat is the fact that it is impossible to detect using only your senses. You won't see it, smell it, or taste it, but when it's levels get too high you will definitely feel it's effects. For years smoke detectors were the only type of home security system that most homes had in them, but that has changed in recent years as the importance of carbon monoxide detectors has become better known. Today any type of public building and many types of homes will have a carbon monoxide detector installed in them. It is generally recommended that you have one carbon monoxide detector on each level of your home. If you have a home with a larger and spacious interior then you probably want to have several carbon monoxide detectors set up per level. By taking the time to learn about what a carbon monoxide detector is and how they work, you can choose the right one to ad to your home security system to help keep your family safe. If you haven't yet installed a monitored home security system, then we recommend you read this article which goes over the best home security systems.