Carbon Monoxide Detectors
How a Carbon Monoxide Detector Works
Blog Introduction: A carbon monoxide detector is a device that senses the presence of carbon monoxide (CO) gas and triggers an alarm to warn people in the area of the potential danger. CO is an invisible, odorless, and tasteless gas that is produced whenever any fuel is burned. When too much CO accumulates in an enclosed space, it can cause harmful effects on the human body, including dizziness, headaches, nausea, and even death. That's why it's so important to have a CO detector in your home or office—to give you a chance to get to safety if there's a CO leak.
Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
There are two types of CO detectors: those that plug into a wall outlet, and battery-operated detectors. Wall-mounted detectors are powered by your home's electricity, so they won't work during a power outage. Battery-operated detectors will continue to work even when the power is out, but they require batteries (usually AA or 9-volt) that need to be replaced periodically. Some battery-operated detectors have mechanisms that alert you when the batteries need changing.
Paired detectors are another type of CO detector that is becoming more popular. Paired detectors consist of two sensors—a primary sensor and a secondary sensor. The primary sensor is placed in the room where you think there might be a CO leak (for example, near a gas stove or fireplace), while the secondary sensor is placed outside of that room (for example, in the hallway). If the primary sensor detect CO gas, it will trigger the alarm on both sensors. Paired detectors are a great choice for larger homes or offices because they provide more coverage than a single detector.
How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work
All carbon monoxide detectors work by constantly sampling the air for traces of CO gas and sounding an alarm if levels become too high. The specific technology used to detect CO gas varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, but most detectors use one of three different types of sensing technology: metal oxide semiconductors (MOS), electrochemical cells (ECs), or catalytic beads (CBs).
MOS sensors use a metal oxide semiconductor material to detect CO gas. They are very sensitive and can detect small concentrations of CO, but they tend to generate false alarms more often than other types of sensing technology.
EC sensors use an electrochemical cell that produces a small amount of electrical current in reaction to CO gas molecules passing through it. EC sensors are less likely than MOS sensors to generate false alarms, but they don't last as long— typically 3-5 years compared to 7-10 years for MOS and CB sensors.
Indoor Outdoorstal Bead Sensors (C underconstructionBS) use catalytic beads made of platinum or palladium that react with CO molecules passing through them to create heat. The heat is then used to trigger an alarm. CB sensors are very durable and have a long lifespan—7-10 years—but they are not as sensitive as MOS or EC sensors and may not detect very low concentrations of CO gas.
Why You Need a Carbon Monoxide DetectorProtecting yourself and your family from carbon monoxide exposure is essential—and having a CO detector is the best way to do it. A carbon monoxide detector can sense invisible but dangerous CO gas and trigger an alarm to warn people in the area of the potential danger. There are many different types of carbon monoxide detectors available on the market, so you can choose one that best meets your needs. But regardless of which type you choose, having a carbon monoxide detector in your home or office could save your life.