Remember you can’t smell, see, or taste carbon monoxide and it may be created by any type of combustion.
CO alarms are available at almost any retail store but they will only alarm after the level of CO in your home is very high for an extended period of time. This can put your family at risk, as many appliances in your home deal with CO.
There is another type of alarm called a “low level” CO alarm. This type of CO alarm will alert you BEFORE CO levels become a problem in the home. Carbon Monoxide alarms that you buy in the store don’t alarm until AFTER you have a problem and they may not alarm for hours or even days while high levels of CO exist.
Health effects due to CO levels in Parts per Million a sample of the chart provided here.
- 35ppm – headache and dizziness within 6 – 8 hours of exposure
- 100ppm – headache within 2 – 3 hours
- 400ppm – headache within 1 – 2 hours, loss of judgement
- 800ppm – dizziness, nausea and convulsions within 45 minutes
Here are some alarming numbers…
Retail alarm – Basic Kidde alarm, based on UL 2034 standard
This alarm does not sound below 30ppm of CO, which means you may be exposed to low levels of CO poisoning and your alarm will not go off until levels reach 70ppm.
- At 70ppm it may take between 60 – 240 minutes before alarm sounds
- At 150ppm it takes between 10 – 50 minutes before alarm sounds
- At 400ppm between 4 – 15 minutes before alarm
Low Level CO Alarm – CO Experts low level carbon monoxide alarm
This alarm does not sound between 1 to 6ppm but will alarm as soon as 7ppm of CO is detected. There is no comparison!
Even the packaging on Kidde CO alarms warns you not to use their product:
Pregnant women, infants, children, senior citizens, persons with heart or respiratory problems and smokers may experience symptoms at lower levels of exposure than noted. Individuals with medical problems may consider using warning devices which provide audible and visual signals for carbon monoxide concentrations under 30ppm.
So when choosing a CO alarm for your home look for a low level alarm (only found online) and make sure you have enough for your home!