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CO Monitors Are Not All Alike

Posted on July 22, 2014

CO – or carbon monoxide – gases are a potentially lethal byproduct of the incomplete burning of fuels like propane, oil, wood, and gasoline. Because many common household appliances and HVAC equipment operate on such fuels, this hazardous gas gets frequently trapped in houses and garages. Because CO is tasteless, odorless and colorless, proper detection requires the use of CO monitors.

CO monitors operate much like smoke alarms. They are built to alert occupants whenever high CO levels have accumulated in a given area. The monitor then issues an alarm precipitating potential human or animal symptoms, allowing you to react accordingly. Of course, the more precise a CO detector, the better chance a household will have to safely act.

Not all monitors are the same; here’s what to look for when shopping for units for your household:

  • Electrochemical sensor. Monitors with electrochemical sensors won’t trigger false alarms caused by frequent humidity and temperature changes, or even the use of common household chemicals. This is especially important for Wichita homeowners, where common summer storms can quickly change outdoor temperature and humidity.
  • End-of-life warning. Like most devices, CO detectors have a tested lifespan. An end-of-life-warning ensures that you will be properly informed when your unit is no longer working to the best of its abilities and requires replacement.
  • UL listed. CO monitors ought to adhere to the strict independent third-party guidelines set by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). Check for a printed UL listed label on any CO monitor you’re considering buying.

Installation and Maintenance Advice

  • Install at least one CO monitor on every floor of the house and in each sleeping area.
  • Install detectors at least 15 feet away from cooking and heating appliances to prevent triggering false readings.
  • Keep the unit unobstructed and uncovered by household objects.
  • Even if your CO monitor has an end-of-life warning, it, and any, detector should be replaced every seven years. This allows you to benefit from upgraded technology features.

To learn more about installing CO monitors in your home, contact your local HVAC experts at Comfort Systems. We’ve been serving Wichita and surrounding Kansas areas since 1996.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Wichita, Kansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about CO monitors and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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