When they first came out at least one brand incorporated the "sensor" with
the battery. The sensor has somekind of "artificial" blood with
respospnded to the CO in much the same manner as human blood.
In any house with gas appliance you should have one or two CO detectors with
one being a "digital readout" type. These will show very small amounts of
CO such as what happens when you burn something in the stove. The response
to small levels gives you confidence that it will sound the alarm if the
Also if you have gas, you should consider the dual CO/GAS alarms that
are available for not much more, since gas is it's own hazard without
necessarily having CO present. Also note for these combo alarms the
mounting location needs to vary depending on whether you have nat. gas
or LP gas since nat. gas rises and LP gas sinks.
Oh my God.
I called the fire department's non-emergency number, because someone
told me they will do a carbon monoxide check as a public service.
They sent a fire truck and three ambulances to our house with full
sirens and lights! It was a freak show. I felt like such an idiot!
What did they find? How is everyone feeling? A whole family with
complaints of being dizzy
and light headed is not something to ignore. What was the food? Did
you call a doc?
I know of two families who had CO poisoning but not very ill. The
first, a bad furnace. The
second, a fireplace pulling exhaust from gas appliances into the home.
When the first family
had their furnace checked, the CO level was so high the guy wouldn't let
them go back in the
house. They had had headaches and mild nausea. I had been in their
home, with my family, and
my eyes burned like someone put acid in them, but rest of my family had
no symptoms. I felt the
burning in my eyes as soon as I went into the house, and my family was
there longer than I. I
mentioned it to the head of the maintenance dept. where I work, and he
is the one who clued us
as to the CO problem.
No CO anywhere. They said we were right to suspect it, and that "Full
Response" is just the standard way they operate.
But my poor mother-in-law was down the street and she freaked.
She came running to the house crying. The last time we had an
emergency, my wife had had a brain aneurysm.
I would suggest that six years is likely the max I would trust.
What I do is keep the new one in the second floor hall outside my
bedroom and the older one on the first floor. I buy a new on a bout every
four or five years. Same with smoke alarms.
I don't know of any that have anything near 14 year sensor lives. I
think 3-4 years is typical for sensor life. All the newer CO detectors
have self test modes and sensor life monitors to alert you when the
sensor has reached the end of it's life.
Several years ago I bought glass ampules containing a defined quantity
of carbon monoxide from a fire department supply house...extinguisher
The ampule and the CO detector are placed in a known volume container (a
ziplok like bag.) The ampule is then broken and the time to an alarm is
measured. Since I have a wood stove in my bedroom, and use several
cords each winter I repeat this test every other month throughout the
winter. No detector faults so far.
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