CO detector

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I bought one and it appeared to not properly work. In short, it was crap.
I want one that will work. I have contacted our local fire dept that has agreed to test it, whichever brand it may be. But, it is forbidden they recommend any specific brand.
I would like to hear any feedback, either pro or con, on this subject.
nb
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vi ....the heart of evil!

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notbob wrote:

work"?
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the readout never changed. put in oven, hold in car exhaust, reset, whatever.... always read "30".
nb
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notbob wrote:

If I am not mistaken, it does not show real time CO count. There is a threshold to change the display. Checked the manual? Or the one bought is too old maybe. They suppose to last only like x years max.
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On 10/30/2011 5:51 PM, Tony Hwang wrote:

As you noted I think most (all) home CO detectors are not instantaneous read.
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notbob wrote:

If you put it in a KNOWN CO-free environment for a day and it still reads 30 after reset, take it back, it's busted. Even a crappy CO detector should read zero when in a Zero CO environment. A couple of dead lcd segments can turn that zero into a 3.
Everything I've seen on testing detectors says, "Don't test 'em on car exhaust." The OTHER stuff in car exhaust contaminates the element.
If your oven put out enough CO to register, you'd be dead. 40 years ago, we used open flame gas space heaters with zero ventilation.
For most detectors, the sensor or the electronics attempts to emulate the human response. It takes a while to register. Shorter for higher concentration.
Detectors vary considerably in the coarseness of their readout. 3-digits does not necessarily get you 1ppm resolution. I'd expect the readout to be conservative. False alarms cost the vendor money/reputation. Dead users, not so much.
To answer your question, I have a low-level sensing unit by COexperts www.coexperts.com
There's lots of info there.
According to them, they do not comply with UL requirements because the requirements are unsafe. They use an electrochemical sensor with real-time display plus a logging function. They claim 1ppm resolution and alarm at 7ppm. Mine's never detected anything.
List price is $250. Have no idea the street price. Mine came for free with an energy audit.
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On 10/30/2011 7:35 PM, mike wrote:

Good information. I had forgotten some of it.
The American Lung Association (or one of its local units) used to recommend COexperts. Don't know if they still do.
Under the UL standard, if I remember right, displays don't show levels lower than 30 ppm. and the alarm level is higher than what COexperts use. The argument is that lower levels are safe (might not be if you have some lung conditions) and that low alarm levels can cause false calls to the fire department. If I remember right, some weather conditions can keep air from rising and could cause low CO levels which could result in massive calls to fire departments if detectors alarmed at low levels.
If codes require CO detectors they may require detectors that meet UL or equivalent standards.
When I was looking for a CO detector I read that Nighthawk sensor elements were the best. I believe they are only available in Kiddie detectors.
I bought a Kiddie Model KN-COPP-3. It will display CO levels starting at 30 ppm, but when the "recall" button is pressed it will display past exposure down to 11 ppm. It was the only one I found (except for COexperts) that displayed below 30 ppm.
I agree with Tony that the sensors have a limited life. Mine is rated 9 years. It will give a trouble signal at about that time.
--
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Hmm...time to change mine then. I wasn't aware that they had limited service life.
Harry K
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On 10/31/2011 8:55 AM, Harry K wrote:

Should be in the instructions which I am sure you kept.
Or look online at the manufacturer site.
--
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wrote:

Me, too. Now if it had been the estate of notbob said it had appeared not work properly.... (g).
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Cute!..... (if it wasn't so lame)
nb
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Here's where i say-- 'I know you can't recommend any brand, but what did you put in your house, or your mom's?' A lot of times they'll mumble something.
I'm not sure the one you have is broken-- but when you replace it, one thing that is handy is a digital readout that can tell you what the peak reading was. That way you know if it sounded off while you were out, or if it is getting right below the 'alarm' level frequently.
Jim [I've only bought 3 or 4 & I've relied on a lot of reading of reviews on Amazon & some consumer mags for recommendations.]
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Consumer Reports has them rated this way:
First Alert OneLInk SCO501CN, interconnected, $70 First Alert OneLInk CO511B, interconnected, $85
First Alert CO615, stand alone, $40
Kidde Nighthawk KN-COPP-3, stand alone, $45
The top one is rated as a best buy. It detects CO2 and has photoelectric smoke detection. The third one is rated as a best buy for the stand alones.
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Dean Hoffman wrote:

Why would he want to detect CO2?

I would not use a combo unit as a replacement for smoke detectors, only as a backup. Smoke detector mounting location is different than CO detectors because of its weight. Always follow the manufacturers instructions for mounting locations, its important.
If you have a monitored alarm system I highly suggest you have them (your Alarm co.) install one that is monitored via the security system. They will have better quality equipment. Make sure you have the installer leave the cut-sheet behind (to double check he followed instructions).
I can not recommend a brand/model of stand-alone detectors, but Kidde has a great reputation.
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The CO detector I bought, which never read anything other than 30, was a Kidde. Even when placed in propane oven. Amazon feedback shows an astonishing number of reviews claiming dead outta the box. BTW, I read the instructions, and having worked as a technical writer, I know exactly what they meant. They meant the unit didn't work! ;)
nb
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I bought a cheap one and got no immediate results, but it might just have a time constant. Had no readout.
Greg
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wrote:

I have 3 - all of them Kidde Nighthawks - and all working. The oldest one uses a 9 volt battery for backup - the 2 newer ones have rechargeable 8 volt Li-ion batteries
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On Oct 31, 6:05pm, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Does an all-electric residential house that has no gas coming into the house actually need a CO2 detector? If I read the paper correctly, Colorado is requiring all new homes to have them, but not all new homes have gas coming in.
Robin
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wrote:

have a CO detector. I have one on each floor - only gas furnace and water heater, and no car in the garage for over 25 years.
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Having read numerous reviews and info, I'm not encouraged. Most First Alert and Kidde units appear to be junk. Some having as high as 43 one star ratings out of 142 reviews. I've read some hopefull feedback about ProTech, despite very few reviews, but another issue has reared its ugly head.
One poster here did touch on it, and that's the issue of sensor life. One Amazon reviewer said Protech did not guarantee its units beyond one year, despite it having a five year li-ion battery. Just how long is the sensor life on a good product? If I'm gonna hafta spend $70 every year, I might as well pay for a $300 Fluke up front (meter, not alarm), or do those die, too.
I think I'll be calling some mfrs, today.
nb
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