What Is a CO Detector?

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A co detector monitors levels of carbon monoxide and alerts people in the house to danger. These devices typically use a sensor that measures the amount of time it takes for CO to build up in an environment, then sounds an alarm when dangerous concentrations of the gas are detected. They’re often programmed to sound a less alarming noise (a little louder than a lawnmower) at lower concentrations that don’t pose immediate risk. The alarm can also be activated manually, and some system-connected units will automatically send an alert to a monitoring service that can dispatch police or ambulance to the site of a potential emergency.

The Silent Killer: Why Every Home Needs a CO Detector

The sensors used in detectors can be either electrochemical or biomimetic. Biomimetic sensors use a technology that reproduces the way CO affects hemoglobin in the blood. They work by changing color and producing an electronic signal when they detect CO. Most detectors have a display or button that shows how well they’re functioning and alerts you to battery issues. They can also have features such as test and reset buttons, silencing features, operating indicators, visual indicators, low battery warnings and full alarms.

When a CO detector’s alarm goes off, it’s important that you find the source of the problem. Unlike smoke alarms, carbon monoxide doesn’t give off any visible or odorless signs, so it can be hard to know what caused the problem. It’s a good idea to have the home checked by a professional heating contractor after an alarm, and to check that the potential sources of CO are properly vented.

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