Types of carbon monoxide detectors
A carbon monoxide detector is your only line of protection against the many potential
sources of carbon monoxide in your home or at work.
Detectors are also refered to as alarms, monitors, meters, and testers.
Two types of carbon monoxide detectors
Conventional "high level" carbon monoxide detectors
Conventional carbon monoxide detectors are designed to prevent acute carbon monoxide poisoning.
Conventional "high level" carbon monoxide detectors are widely available. They are designed to save lives and
prevent serious injury and health problems resulting from "high levels" of carbon monoxide exposure.
This type of detector is designed to specific carbon
monoxide alarm standards and because they are mass produced, are relatively inexpensive (most are under
The problem is, conventional detectors do NOT NOT NOT
protect against low level carbon monoxide exposure
which can also be horribly health damaging.
"Low level" carbon monoxide detectors
Low level carbon monoxide detectors are designed to protect against chronic carbon monoxide poisoning - which can
cause serious health problems.
The cummulative impact of multiple low level carbon monoxide exposures causes cellular malfunctioning which can cause or worsen a very wide
range of health problems.
Although low level detectors are designed to activate when exposed to low levels of carbon monoxide, they also
activate at high levels - meaning, they protect against both types of carbon monoxide poisoning.
These detectors are more sensitive and prone to alarming but that is the very point.
Low level detectors are not easily found in stores and because they are more precise instruments, they are more
expensive (under $200).
Because low level detectors protect against both kinds
of poisoning, they are in our opinion, FAR FAR FAR
more important than conventional detectors.
Buy a low level carbon monoxide detector here...
Kinds of carbon monoxide sensors used in detectors
There are three main types of carbon monoxide detectors, each with a different type of sensor - metal oxide,
biomimetic and electrochemical.
While there are differences between these technologies, each type is tested and approved for operation. The cost
of a detector is generally tied to the number of features and strength of the warranty.
No matter which type you choose, proper carbon monoxide
detector placement and installation is essential for proper functioning.
Metal-oxide-semi-conductor carbon monoxide detectors
This is the original technology for CO detectors. Heated tin oxide reacts with carbon monoxide to determine
levels of the toxic gas. There is no need to remember to check batteries as units must be connected to house power
(they use more power than a battery can supply). Some models offer up to 20 hours of battery backup.
Biomimetic carbon monoxide detectors
The second type of carbon monoxide monitor has biomimetic sensors. These sensors are discs coated with a special
gel that turns dark when carbon monoxide comes into contact with them. A change in color is what triggers the
alarm. These are usually less expensive. They are available as plug in units and battery operated units. This gives
more flexibility in where to place your carbon monoxide alarm.
Electrochemical carbon monoxide detectors
With this type of CO monitor, a chemical reaction with carbon monoxide creates an electrical current that sets
off the alarm.
Electrochemical CO detectors are highly sensitive and offer accurate readings at all carbon monoxide levels. They give more precise readings even at low
levels while other types of tend to only read higher levels.
Most units come with a continuous digital readout and a memory feature that records peak CO levels and allows
you to check them at a glance. The history of readings can be retrieved at the press of a button. This technology
offers a fast reset time. Most units sound an alert when they need to be replaced. This type tends to be more
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