5 Best Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detectors to Protect Your Health

Has it ever occurred to you that something you cannot taste, see or smell, can potentially damage your health or even prove to be deadly? Carbon Monoxide (CO) is a poisonous gas that, in very high concentrations, can kill a person within five minutes. A carbon monoxide detector and alarm can give you an early warning, saving the lives of your loved ones and yours.

Carbon monoxide is produced during the incomplete combustion of fuel. Many household appliances like boilers, furnaces, gas stoves, motor vehicles are potential sources of carbon monoxide. Since it is a tasteless and odorless transparent gas, you may not even notice it until exposure reaches dangerous levels. In some cases, the symptoms may get misdiagnosed because it mimics various illnesses.

What are the symptoms of Carbon Monoxide poisoning?

As per the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention report, approximately 430 people die each year in the US due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Moreover, approximately 50,000 people visit the emergency room due to accidental CO poisoning. 

Red blood cells pick up carbon monoxide quicker than they pick up oxygen. When a person inhales CO, their body replaces the oxygen in blood with CO. The heart and the brain require a huge amount of oxygen to function. In the absence or shortage of oxygen in the blood, they suffer irreversible damage. 

Therefore it is important to know the symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning to get help immediately. The symptoms include:

  1. Flu
  2. Headaches
  3. Dizziness
  4. Nausea
  5. Brain damage
  6. Loss of conscious
  7. Heart irregularity
  8. Breathing difficulty
  9. Abortion
  10. Brain damage

Some people who get exposed to dangerous CO levels while sleeping or under the influence of alcohol may die before experiencing the symptoms. Hence, it is important to install a carbon monoxide alarm in your house.

How deadly is Carbon Monoxide? 

CO’s health impacts are determined by the CO concentration and duration of exposure, as well as the person’s overall health. The concentration of CO is expressed in parts per million (ppm). Most people will not have any symptoms after being exposed to CO levels ranging from 1 to 70 ppm for an extended period of time, however, some heart patients may notice an elevation in chest pain. As CO levels rise and persist above 70 ppm, symptoms such as headache, tiredness, and nausea become noticeable. Restlessness, unconsciousness, and death are all conceivable at prolonged CO concentrations of 150 to 200 ppm.

What to look for in a Carbon Monoxide detector?

If you have decided to update or purchase the best carbon monoxide detector for your home, you must understand the technology available and where to install the CO alarm. Here are the major factors to think about before making a purchase:

  1. Battery-powered or hard-wired: Both battery-powered and hard-wired carbon monoxide detectors have their benefits. Mains-powered alarms are a great choice if you do not want the burden of replacing batteries. However, battery-powered Carbon monoxide alarms are portable and you can carry them with you whenever you travel.
  2. Digital display: A digital display will give you a continuous reading of the CO levels, which you can monitor and try to control before it reaches a harmful level. It is also easier to understand.
  3. Test Button: A test button is given in almost all carbon monoxide detectors which allows you to check the workability of a device. This way, you can immediately replace a faulty device and keep your loved ones away from CO exposure.

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Best Carbon Monoxide Detectors To Remain Safe At Home

Given the diverse range of products on the market, it might be difficult for you to choose the best CO detector. We have prepared a list of the top 6 Carbon monoxide alarms to help you decide on an ideal one for your home. 

1. Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector with Battery Backup

Kidde Carbon Monoxide Detector with Battery Backup

Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 4.5 x 1.5 x 2.75 inches
  • Power Source – Battery Powered
  • Sensor Type – Electrochemical,
  • Alarm Type – 85-decibel siren
  • Battery Type – alkaline

The Kidde carbon monoxide detector is a battery-powered electrochemical sensor that protects you and your family from the dangers of carbon monoxide. It is battery-operated and hence is not affected by power failure providing you continuous monitoring. It is powered by three AA batteries. 

The carbon monoxide detector employs specialized beep patterns along with blinking LEDs to alert you. A green LED will flash once every 30 seconds to indicate that the alarm is operating properly. A red LED will pulse 4-short beeps to indicate CO gas, until the device is reset or the gas reaches safe levels. A digital display is also provided for easy monitoring of CO. 

The alarm sounds at 85-decibels when it detects 70 ppm of CO for 60 to 240 minutes, 150 ppm for 10 to 50 minutes, and 400ppm for 4 to 15 minutes. 

Its DIY free-standing design allows for attachment to a wall or placement on a nightstand. So, you do not need to worry about professional installation. 

Pros:

  • Digital display for ease in monitoring
  • Specific beep patterns for different alerts
  • DIY free-standing design

Cons:

  • No hush buttons

2. Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Google Nest Protect Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 5.3 x 1.5 x 5.3 inches
  • Power Source – Corded Electric
  • Sensor Type – Ionization, Photoelectric, CO
  • Alarm Type – Friendly voice alert
  • Battery Type – ‎3 Lithium Metal Batteries(included)

The Google Nest is a voice-enabled Smoke Alarm that warns you in a friendly voice about any smoke or CO in your home. It detects fast-burning, smoldering fire, and CO and tells you the exact location of origin. 

The Nest Protect has an electrochemical CO sensor and a photoelectric smoke sensor. It keeps your homes safe from fire even when you are not around. The device sends an alert to your smartphone when you are not at home, so you can take quick action. It also alerts you if the battery runs low so you can immediately change them. 

You can program the Nest Protect to turn off the Nest Thermostat, a potential source of carbon monoxide.

Pros:

  • Three types of sensors
  • Compatibility with Nest Thermostat
  • Alerts to smartphone
  • Friendly voice alert

Cons:

  • Users reported that the sensors are not very sensitive

3. Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector

Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector

Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 6.06 x 3.75 x 1.75 inches
  • Power Source – Plug-in to A/C outlet
  • Sensor Type – Electrochemical
  • Alarm Type – Beep
  • Battery Type – 2 AA Batteries (included)

The Kidde Nighthawk CO detector is a plug-in device that gives you accurate, digital readings of the carbon monoxide level in your home. 

The carbon monoxide detector measures CO levels between 30 and 999 PPM, so you can protect your family and be prepared to handle hazards. An electrochemical sensor is used to measure the CO levels. 

It comes with a power backup with 2 AA batteries, for continuous monitoring during a power failure. The device also indicates when the battery needs replacement.

This portable Carbon Monoxide detector indicates high carbon monoxide levels by beeping four times every 5 seconds. It constantly beeps until the levels decrease or you press the reset button.

Installation is a cake-walk; just plug it in any A/C outlet. You can also use the 6-feet extension cable to plug into the wall and place it on a table. 

Pros:

  • Measures CO levels between 30 and 999 PPM
  • Plug-in to any A/C power source in your house, hence portable
  • Power backup with batteries
  • Digital display

Cons:

  • Continuous beep until you reset it which makes it slightly annoying

4. First Alert BRK PRC710 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

First Alert BRK PRC710 Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm

Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 4.92 x 4.92 x 0.96 inches
  • Power Source – Battery Powered
  • Sensor Type – Electrochemical, photoelectric 
  • Alarm Type – 85-decibel siren
  • Battery Type – ‎1 Lithium Metal batteries (included)

If you are looking for a simple and sleek carbon monoxide detector that takes up little space, this is the choice for you. The First Alert Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector feature a photoelectric sensor to detect smoke from smoldering fires. It also has an electrochemical sensor to detect carbon monoxide leaks from multiple sources such as faulty fuel-burning appliances or blocked chimneys. 

The CO detector is powered by a lithium-ion battery that has a life of a decade. Therefore, you need not worry about replacing batteries for at least 10 years. 

It has a twist-lock mounting system and can be easily installed on the wall or ceiling, with no professional help. 

Whenever it detects harmful levels of CO or smoke, it alerts using an 85-decibel siren. The carbon monoxide detector device has a test button so you can easily test whether the device is faulty and get it replaced. You can silence false alarms with the silence button. 

First Alert recommends cleaning the device once a month and mounting it at least 20 feet( 6metres) away from the source of combustion particles.

Pros:

  • Carbon monoxide plus smoke detection
  • 10-year battery life
  • Easy installation

Cons:

  • May give out false alarms

5. First Alert One Link

First Alert One Link

Specifications:

  • Dimensions – 7 x 7 x 2 inches
  • Power Source – Corded Electric, Battery Powered
  • Sensor Type – Electrochemical, photoelectric 
  • Alarm Type – Voice and phone alerts
  • Battery Type – ‎2 Lithium Metal batteries (included)

The First Alert One Link is a smoke and carbon monoxide detector that can be controlled by your Apple smartphone app. It is a versatile device that can also be used as a premium home speaker. 

It is a 2.4GHz Wi-Fi-enabled device that can be interconnected with all the smoke detectors around the house. Voice alerts alert you of the level and location of carbon monoxide in your house. It also sends alerts via the First Alert mobile app. With a battery backup, this hardwired carbon monoxide detector can continuously monitor the CO levels of your house. 

It is compatible with Alexa so you can give commands to call and message your friends or play your favorite music. 

You can activate the auto-brightness feature to use it as a night light too. 

Pros:

  • Wi-Fi enabled 
  • Sends alerts to smartphone
  • Compatible with Alexa
  • Can be used as a speaker and a night light

Cons:

  • No smoke detection

Conclusion

You do not need to purchase an expensive carbon monoxide detector. Even high-priced gadgets with additional functionality must meet a minimal criterion of alerting you when CO levels rise. So, when it comes to your health, even a cheap device that does its job properly is beneficial. However, if the extra features appeal to you, you should go for them.

We hope that this article was informative and helped you buy the best carbon monoxide alarm for your house. Inform your loved ones about this toxic gas and the significance of a CO alarm. If you have any further queries, please leave them in the comments area.

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Carbon Monoxide Detector FAQs

Where to install a Carbon Monoxide Alarm?

The Carbon monoxide detectors should be mounted on a wall approximately 5 feet above the floor. This is because carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and tends to rise with warmer air. If you have a fireplace or other flame-producing item, do not install the detector right near it. Do not allow dogs or children to come into direct contact with the alarm. For each floor, a separate detector is required. 

What to do if you are exposed to Carbon Monoxide? 

If you or someone you know is exposed to this noxious gas, immediately move to fresh air and consult medical authorities. 

The medical personnel will provide treatment depending upon the severity of the condition. Oxygen is administered for low levels of exposure and pressurized oxygen is administered in more severe cases.

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