How a Carbon Monoxide Alarm Makes Home a Safer Place

Home has always been considered a haven from the ills of life in the big bad world, but it is not without its own dangers. While fire is already a leading concern when it comes to safety, with a vast range of smoke detectors available on the market, there is more than fire and smoke to worry about.

Any alarm installation technician will tell you that there are also real risks coming from the things that cannot be seen or smelled, such as carbon monoxide. As a naturally occurring gas, it is impossible to steer clear of carbon monoxide, but a carbon monoxide alarm will indicate when too much of it is about. That is why the carbon monoxide detector is now considered an essential device.

Carbon monoxide is easily produced in the home, particularly where there is a stove burning, but in such small quantities that it is not dangerous. Think about when you feel the room is stuffy and needs some fresh air. This is generally because the innate warning signals of the body is warning about the level of carbon monoxide being breathed in. Obviously, when a fire breaks out, oxygen is burned very quickly. This creates carbon monoxide in vast amounts, making the clouds of smoke so dangerous.

Of course, in a fire, the smoke and heat detectors will go off, negating the need for a detector that measures gas levels. The real problem is that a gas stove that seems to work fine, for example, could be faulty and this will lead to an increase in gas levels over a certain period of time. Because the gas is colourless and odourless, it is completely undetectable naturally, which is why detectors do not need fires to go off. Instead, their sensors will react to a rise in the level of carbon monoxide in the air.

There are a number of different types of sensor technologies in use, but the electrochemical sensor is the predominant one used in modern detectors. In this type of a sensor, an electric current is produced between two electrodes. The current is precisely measured to handle the natural levels of carbon monoxide, with the gas oxidised at one electrode and oxygen consumed at the other. However, when there is a large increase in levels of the gas, the current no longer copes and the alarm will go off.

The reason for its popularity is its accuracy, with the technology used so precise that it reacts to even the smallest increases. This provides a reliability that is, of course, the first concern when installing a detector of any type. However, it is also very cost effective, needing very little power to run and a life span of as many as five years.

The variety of detectors and alarms on the market is quite wide, but Aico is amongst the leaders in this field. The ei261en alarm uses an electrochemical sensor which can be replaced, and in so doing, doubling the life of the device itself. It also sports an interconnect feature, allowing it to be connected to other detectors in the range. It establishes a kind of all for one system, whereby in the event that one alarm sounds, they all will.

Carbon monoxide testing is also simple, with a quick test feature to ensure the detector is working, and although it operates through mains power, it is backed up for ten years by a rechargeable lithium cell battery.

The largest manufacturer of smoke, heat and carbon monoxide detectors is BRK Dicon. Their co850mrli can interlink with as many as 12 alarms to be part of a comprehensive system, with one alarm setting them all off. These models are hardwired, has power, alarm and fault indicators built in and comes with a warranty of 10 years.

It is true that smoke detectors are one of the first safety items considered when deciding how to go about making home as safe as possible. However, there is also a growing realisation that carbon monoxide alarms are just as important.

With the gas itself so prevalent, the risk is never truly gone, so having a carbon monoxide detector attached to the ceilings in kitchens, hallways, bedrooms and living rooms is becoming a priority, and rightfully so.

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