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Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Why You Should Have One

Updated on November 21, 2013
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Do we think enough about the safety of our homes?

Should we rely on alarm systems for everything?

I am sure that researching symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning does not sound like a fun time to any of us. Modern living brings about some risks, and we need to protect our families, our homes and ourselves. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is a very good idea and it is important for any household. These devices work by a simple principle - they will sound an alarm before the level of carbon monoxide in the air you breathe in becomes too much and reaches a dangerous level.

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a risk none of us would like to take. This is exactly why we need to take security measures, not only to protect ourselves, but also to be able to relax around the house and protect our family. You should find ways to measure the levels of carbon monoxide at all times, so you don't have to worry about gas poisoning. We are sure you have bigger fish to fry, anyway.

Lives are hectic enough without having to think about freak accidents that may happen to us. If you are one of those people who always think about whether they have left the stove on, or if they turned it off, then it would be best to raise your house and family safety to a level where these thoughts become obsolete. Each house should have installed systems that monitor these dangers, and it is up to you to decide whether you want them now, or when it is already too late. You know the best.

Read on to learn the basic work principle of these practical devices, about their installation, and to try to answer any question you may have.

What is carbon monoxide and why is it so dangerous?

Carbon monoxide is a gas that is more concentrated in areas with low air levels. So, if your house is closed for a longer time, the concentration of this gas will rise and possibly reach a dangerous level.

This gas has no color, scent or taste, which makes it impossible for a person to detect it easily. It is a result of incomplete combustion process, and can be produced by burning wood or coal, cooking, and also by your house appliances and heating systems.

This gas is accumulating all the time and is always present in the air, and thus it is important to air your home and have a detector that will sound an alarm in cases of dangerous levels in the air. It is thus best not to hesitate and buy one of these alarm systems.

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What is a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Why would we need one?

As is mentioned before, a carbon monoxide detector is a device that constantly measures concentrations of carbon monoxide in the air you breathe - enabling us to know exactly what the situation is and if or not you should be worried. You can track the levels of dangerous carbon monoxide, and know exactly when to do something about it.

There are instances when your headaches and overall tiredness can be attributed to this dangerous gas, and you may not even be aware of that. In fact, that would probably be one of the last things you would consider. Carbon monoxide detectors will sound an alarm when the levels of carbon monoxide go overboard - and before it can do serious damage. They mostly run on a battery, but there are battery free versions of these alarm systems and they are all very easy to install.

By installing one, you will never have to be in a space where there are accumulations of carbon monoxide that may endanger you or your close ones. Installing a carbon monoxide detector is the smart way to go. You will know when to ventilate the room, and in the worst case scenario, when to evacuate.

These alarm systems are best for those situations when you are not home and therefore cannot do anything about a possible malfunction or a gas leak. When the alarm sounds, you will be able to call someone and react quickly yourself if you are not far from home at the time. Oftentimes, you will need this kind of peace of mind, especially if you have gone on a vacation to relax and take a break from everyday life and obligations.

Types of carbon monoxide detectors

There are several types of carbon monoxide detectors, among which we have opto-chemical, biomimetic and electrochemical detectors. Some of these function by changing colors according to the level of CO in the air, while other types produce electric current depending on the quantity of CO. Most of them run on a battery.

What all of these types have in common is when the level of carbon monoxide becomes alarming, they will sound an alarm so that we can react according to the situation.

Digital Carbon Monoxide Detectors allow us to keep track of the levels of CO, which is especially useful to monitor if there were any changes in our absences from home.

There are some types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors that call the emergency services automatically if there is an alarming quantity of CO in the room, and this might be best in case you are often absent from home.

The kind of alarm you want is really up to you as you may feel more comfortable with the one that calls the emergency services immediately. That all depends on how cool you are in some of these out of the ordinary situations.

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One simple, cheap detector that could save your life

...or your house from burning down

These alarm systems really don't take a lot of space, are easy to set up and very, and I mean, very, loud! They are mostly battery run, but there are those who need to be plugged into an electric output. Carbon monoxide detectors are the best possible solution for someone who leads a relatively busy life and cannot afford worrying too much about everything.

Either way, if you do not have at least one of these alarms at home as a form of safety precaution, you may have to think twice about it.

A good information that can illustrate how important these detectors are is that you are legally obliged to have one of these alarms in your house in some countries. They probably figure that it is best to prescribe some forms of safety and alarm systems are a big part of that.

What is the best place for a carbon monoxide detector?

This is a question everyone will ask if they do not have (or never had) a carbon monoxide detector. This device should ideally be placed higher up on your wall, and this is for a very logical reason. Carbon monoxide is lighter than air, so it will be mostly concentrated at a level of about four and a half, five feet.

This altitude will also place it outside of the reach of children and/or pets, which is also crucial and a best solution for a big family. Make sure not to put it too high up in case you have to replace a battery from time to time.

This kind of an alarm system cannot be placed close to furnaces, fireplaces, ovens and the like. It would be best to place one of these detectors on each floor of the house. However, if you cannot afford to have this done, or think it is unnecessary, you should put this device near the sleeping area of the house. It is of paramount importance that there are no dangerous levels of CO where you and/or your family sleep.

To summarize

Modern living offers a lot of commodity to us, but some of these commodities can be more dangerous than they appear. Some appliances in particular can contribute to building up of dangerous levels of certain gases in your homes, and one of those gases is carbon monoxide.

A large concentration of CO can potentially be fatal, which makes the issue of ensuring the safety of your family and yourself a lot less debatable. It’s best to be safe.

A way to sleep easy is to install a carbon monoxide detector that will monitor the levels of CO within your four walls. This device will sound an alarm whenever the accumulation of this harmful gas crosses a certain line. It will also allow you to monitor these levels and decide how often you need to air your house.

A great thing is that these alarm systems are simple, easy to install, usually battery run, and quite cheap. Your only obligation will be to change a battery here and there – but what is more important in the end, a battery or your safety?

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