A Guide to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO Poisoning)

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The Silent Killer: Selecting an Effective Carbon Monoxide Detector that can Save Lives

Next to a smoke alarm, a carbon monoxide detector may be the most important item you have in your home. Without the aid of a detector, it would be virtually impossible to know if carbon monoxide at dangerous levels was present in your home. Unfortunately, carbon monoxide (CO) cannot be seen or smelled, and because it can have deadly effects within minutes, it is necessary to have a functioning detector in your home. There are three different types of carbon monoxide detectors, each with their own unique features. Before purchasing a detector, know the differences between each model and be clear about how many detectors you want to have in your home.

Biomimetic CO Detector
The biomimetic CO detector has an internal gel cell that is made of synthetic hemoglobin that works to absorb the CO. It is crucial that the battery and sensory module be replaced every two to three years, but the detector itself should last approximately 10 years. If the detector is activated, the sensor should clear itself generally within 2 to 48 hours. To clear the sensor, you must let it sit in fresh air otherwise the sensor will immediately sound off again when put back in the detector. If you find that your sensor does not clear, you must replace the part.

Metal-Oxide Semiconductor CO Detector (or MOS)
A MOS CO detector is a plug-in unit that is equipped with an electronic sensor. This model is a good choice for people who are looking for a device that requires minimal maintenance. Typically, this model lasts from 5 to 10 years and units are available with long lasting battery backup.

Electrochemical CO Detector
An electrochemical detector works by responding differently to the varying levels of CO exposure. This device has a self-powered battery that does not need to be replaced, a digital readout and a memory feature that will display CO readings from the past. These detectors usually last for at least 5 years.

Don’t forget to also look for…
Which ever CO detector you buy, don’t forget to also look for these features:

  • The peak CO memory feature will typically appear on higher-end models and is a display that remembers the highest levels of CO over a certain time period. This feature is useful for emergency personnel when trying to determine the severity of the CO problem.
  • If someone in your family is hard of hearing, buy a carbon monoxide detector that has special light features. During an alarm, not only will the alarm go off but a light will also flash. Look for an alarm that has an easy-to-read light-emitting diode (LED).
  • Look for a model that has a power supply backup feature. Typically, your CO detector will stop working when there is a power outage; however, with a power supply backup feature, this will not occur.
  • Make sure that you are buying the newest device available. To do this, open the package and find the date of manufacture that is stamped on the back.
  • Know the different sounds that your detector makes. A loud and continuous alarm sound should alert you to an emergency, while a repetitive beep every minute tells you that something is wrong with your detector.
  • You should have a minimum of one smoke detector and one CO detector in your home. There is no harm in having more than one detector of either kind, but you should have at least one of each.



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