Every day we are exposed to carbon monoxide gas from the combustion of carbon-based fuels, including coal, kerosene, natural gases, oil, propane and wood. Normally, this toxic gas is expelled from the home through vents, but this does not always happen. The Centers for Disease and Control estimate that 2,244 people died between 2010 and 2015 as a result of accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
Carbon monoxide cannot be seen, smelled or tasted. A carbon monoxide detector helps protect you and your property by detecting carbon monoxide leaks before they become deadly. Basic Carbon Monoxide Detectors Cost Just $ 20. Since it's critical that this gadget doesn't let you down, we'll cover the basic features to consider when buying a carbon monoxide detector.
Combined smoke and carbon monoxide detector
Homeowners often don't see the need for smoke detectors because they believe the presence of fire will be obvious. However, most fire hazard victims succumb to smoke inhalation as opposed to fire flames or heat. A smoke detector is useful if a fire breaks out when you are not at home or when you are sleeping.
Smoke detectors can use photoelectric smoke detection or ionization detectors. As the name suggests, the first uses light sensors. When smoke particles break the light beam, the alarm goes off. In ionization smoke detectors, an electric current flows between two diodes. Interruption of this electric current by smoke particles activates the smoke alarm.
On the other hand, carbon monoxide detectors use electrochemical sensors, biomimetic sensors or metal oxide semiconductors. Electrochemical sensors have electrodes immersed in a solution. As soon as the carbon monoxide levels in your home exceed a certain limit, the electrodes sense a change in electrical currents and trigger the alarm. Biomimetic sensors have a gel that changes color when it absorbs carbon monoxide. The color change turns off the alarm. In a metal oxide semiconductor, excess carbon monoxide lowers the gadget's electrical resistance, triggering the alarm.
You can buy a combination of a smoke and carbon monoxide detector, such as the Kidde carbon monoxide detector, which will save you money and space. You only need to test and replace the batteries on one device instead of two. However, keep in mind that you should pay attention to the end-of-life warnings of the device and make sure it meets third-party standards. Battery-operated devices have a life of about two to three years, while wired devices last up to 10 years.
Interconnected carbon monoxide detector
In some cases, you can connect all the carbon monoxide detectors so that they all go off when one is activated. Connecting these devices together allows you to comply with building codes in your area without physical wiring. It can also be helpful if you have a large house so that you hear the alarm sound in another part of the house. The downside of such a system is that it will be difficult to know which part of your house has triggered the alarm.
Integration of smart devices with carbon monoxide detectors
The best carbon monoxide detector on the market today can be connected to the smart appliances in your home. On your smartphone you can download an app that connects you to your smart carbon monoxide detector. If carbon monoxide is detected, not only will the alarm go off, but you will also receive a notification on your phone. Most smart carbon monoxide detectors will inform you of the location or affected room and how to respond. For example, you may be asked to call 911 if the situation is serious, or to simply open a window and contact non-emergency services for a minor issue.
You can also connect your smart carbon monoxide and smoke detector to your home's thermostat. Once this device is activated, the thermostat will be asked to turn off the HVAC so that the toxic gas or smoke is not drawn into the device and distributed throughout your home.
Smart device integration means you are assured of the safety of your home even when you are far away. You will also receive a notification on your phone if the device is deactivated. Unfortunately, the unit and installation costs of these devices are usually high.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a smart carbon monoxide detector?
If you spend a lot of time outdoors, you can receive remote notifications if something goes wrong by adding a smart carbon monoxide detector. If you spend a lot of money and you are usually at home, you can do it with a conventional detector.
What is the best placement of carbon monoxide detectors?
The placement of carbon monoxide detectors is critical to be effective. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends that you install your carbon monoxide detector at a maximum of five feet above the ground. This is because carbon monoxide mixes easily with the air in your home and rarely rises. If you are installing only one carbon monoxide detector, install it close to the sleeping area and allow the alarm to wake you.
Where can I buy a Kidde carbon monoxide detector?
Aside from their website, you can purchase Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detectors (and other similar brands) from approved outlets, including Amazon, Grainger, HD Supply, and Home Depot, among other stores.
What should I do if my carbon monoxide alarm goes off?
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, let fresh air into the building by opening all windows and doors. Turn off all fuel-burning appliances and go out with your household and pets, even if you feel well. Do not enter the house until the source of the leak is remedied, which means you may have to call 911 if you cannot fix the leak yourself. Make sure each family member knows how to respond when the alarm goes off.
What are the maintenance requirements for carbon monoxide detectors?
Carbon monoxide detectors require regular maintenance to ensure that they operate optimally. For starters, test and clean the device once a month. Consult the manufacturer's instructions on how to sound the alarm and how often to replace the batteries.