Kudos to you if you’re implementing fire safety precautions when it comes to protecting home and family. By the end of this article, we hope you’ll understand the importance of safeguarding against carbon monoxide (CO) as well.
How Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work?
Carbon monoxide (CO) detectors are made to measure levels of carbon monoxide over time and to sound an alarm when carbon monoxide levels become dangerous to the point where they could potentially cause poisoning.
There are a few different forms of carbon monoxide detectors. They’re smarter than CO detectors of yesterday and generally come battery powered with battery backup—for extra protection—and a digital display so you can monitor levels. Most incorporate one of the following carbon monoxide detection mechanisms: a biomimetic sensor, electrochemical sensor, or a metal oxide semiconductor.
Here’s how each works:
- Biomimetic sensor: A special gel turns a different color when it comes in contact with carbon monoxide. The shift in color causes the CO alarm to go off. While this might be the most reliable type of alarm, it is more expensive and generally less common for typical household use. It is used most often in hospitals and hotels.
- Electrochemical sensor: This type of sensor consists of an electrochemical cell that contains two electrodes, a connecting wire, and an electrolyte-like sulfuric acid. When unsafe levels of carbon monoxide cause a change in the electrical current, the alarm sounds. These types of sensors are now likely the most common types in the United States and Europe, as they don’t require much power and have a lifespan of five years or more. The Vivint Carbon Monoxide Detector employs this type of sensor and is battery operated.
- Metal oxide semiconductor: Measuring resistance, small wires on a ceramic base are heated to measure carbon monoxide levels. Resistance is lowered when carbon monoxide is sensed, signaling the alarm to sound. This type of detection equipment requires substantial power and may not be as effective as the electrochemical sensor, which is why it’s less commonly used.
How do you set up a carbon monoxide detector?
Since your family’s safety is of utmost importance, it’s best to have a trained professional install your CO detector. Not only will they ensure it is installed correctly, but they’ll also do it quickly. Leave the hassle to the pros and focus on keeping your family protected from harmful carbon monoxide.