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Why Install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?


Carbon monoxide poisoning is an emergency health problem that is triggered whenever there is too much carbon monoxide in the air and the body proceeds to replace the oxygen in the red cells with this potentially deadly gas instead. The buildup of CO in the bloodstream will, in turn, create a series of specific symptoms, including tissue damage and, in some severe cases, death. The risks associated with this problem can be kept to a minimum with the help of special carbon monoxide detectors and alarms that can detect any CO leak and warn you about it before it is too late.  Let us find out how carbon monoxide alarms work, what are their main advantages, and how to choose the most suitable detector for your exact needs.

Why Is Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Risky And How Does It Occur?

First of all, carbon monoxide is a gas that results whenever wood, charcoal, gasoline, and other similar fuels are burnt. The gas does not have a specific taste, color, or odor and it is almost impossible to notice in a room. Whenever a car engine, for example, or a gas-powered appliance such as a stove have not been ventilated the right way, carbon monoxide will begin to build up and reach potentially harmful levels. This is prone to happen in enclosed or tight spaces that do not any air in.  In the event of you or someone else may have been exposed to high levels of CO, and you suspect carbon monoxide poisoning, it is important to immediately exit the room and breath some fresh air, while seeking immediate medical care. This silent threat is responsible for claiming more than 430 lives in teh USA on a yearly basis, so it is crucial to be able to recognize the physical symptoms of a person who has been poisoned with the gas, as well as be able to prevent a gas leak.

Unfortunately, even the briefest exposure to small amounts of carbon monoxide could lead to serious repercussions on one's health and well-being.  This is why it is crucial to install special carbon monoxide sensors that can detect the presence of the gas when you are not able to do so. Once the gas starts binding to the red blood cells, it also begins the process of starving the body of oxygen after reaching the lungs. This quickly leads to experiencing symptoms like sudden headaches, fatigue, shortness of breath, feeling dizzy and nauseated, and vomiting. Lots of people wrongfully mistake these early CO poisoning signs with cold and flu symptoms and eventually end up losing consciousness or feeling severely disoriented once the amount of accumulated CO in the air reaches 150 ppm.  Without immediate medical attention, death is imminent, which makes carbon monoxide poisoning the runner up in the top of the leading cause of poisoning in the country.

How To Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning?

carbon monoxide sensor

Luckily, there are ways of avoiding carbon monoxide poisoning and they mainly refer to the use of carbon monoxide detectors, sensors, and alarms, as well as avoidance of all exposure.

  • Never try to re-heat your car for several minutes while inside the closed garage or you will risk the CO from the car's exhaust building up rapidly.
  • Never try to heat your house using gas-based appliances during the winter or you could end up with a severe gas accumulation without your knowledge.
  • Never forget to accurately ventilate rooms of the house that are hosting gas-powered appliances such as pressure washers or space heaters.
  • Never use camping stoves, a charcoal-powered grill, or a hibachi inside the house or tent when camping in the outdoors.

How Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?

Not only are carbon monoxide detectors extremely easy to use and install, but they also come at very affordable prices and they could potentially save your life, so you have every reason to be on your toes about this problem.  It is best to have carbon monoxide alarms installed on every level, nearby sleeping areas as well as the garage for maximum protection.  These devices work similarly to regular fire and smoke alarms and they sound a siren whenever they detect CO in the area where they have been fitted. Some CO detectors will solely set off the siren, while more advanced, smart carbon monoxide detectors will also connect to the home's security system or a smartphone for extra convenience.

Types Of Carbon Monoxide Sensors

The detectors will sound the siren every time they will identify a certain amount of CO that will go over a certain amount over a period of time. Here are a few different types of CO sensors when shopping around for new detectors:

  • biomimetic sensors that feature colored gels that will change color whenever they will absorb CO, thus triggering the carbon monoxide alarm
  • metal oxide semiconductor sensors that feature silica chips. When these chips will identify a CO leak, they will lower the electrical resistance and, hence, sound the siren.
  • electrochemical sensors. They rely on a chemical solution whose electrodes are going to change sense in the electrical current as soon as they touch CO. This will result in the alarm being triggered.

Usually, the carbon monoxide alarm detectors will go off once the detectors will identify a CO buildup inside the house. A low concentration of around (50 ppm) will usually take up to 8 hours to set the alarm off, while a concentration of at least 150 ppm should trigger the same CO alarm in just a few minutes.  Whether you will opt for a simple carbon monoxide alarm you can easily plug into an outlet or run on batteries with a simple, but noisy siren, or an advanced model with built-in sensors that can detect CO and smoke simultaneously, it is up to you and your budget size. If you really want to invest in a truly advanced detector, you can buy one that can send alerts to your smartphone that you can connect to your home security system.