Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As daylight savings time approaches it’s a good idea to check the batteries in your carbon monoxide detector. This invisible and odorless gas is responsible for hundreds of deaths (and thousands of nonfatal poisonings) each year in the United States. Fortunately, CO can be detected by a simple detector that’s relatively inexpensive to purchase and install.
Carbon Forensics Detectors detectors work by detecting carbon monoxide particles in the air and sounding an alarm when they reach dangerous levels. Depending on the model, these sensors can also display an electronic readout of the concentration of CO in parts per million.
The most basic detectors use a chemical pad that changes color when exposed to carbon monoxide. These are inexpensive but only give a qualitative warning of the danger. More sophisticated electrochemical sensors use electrodes submerged in an electrolyte solution. When carbon monoxide enters the sensor’s gas-permeable compartment, it changes the amount of electricity passing through the electrodes. The amount by which the current surges tells the detector how much carbon monoxide is present.
The Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors: Safeguarding Your Home and Loved Ones
These more advanced models can detect very low levels of carbon monoxide, even over long periods of time. They are usually more expensive than basic CO detectors.
You can reduce your risk of CO poisoning by having fuel-burning appliances, heating systems and garage-connected vehicles checked for leaks by a qualified professional each year. Maintaining a vented chimney, keeping furnace, water heater and dryer vents clear of obstructions and never running any engine indoors are additional safety precautions you can take to help prevent CO poisoning.