Carbon Monoxide is an inherently dangerous gas, often referred to as a silent killer. The reasons being, it is odourless, tasteless, invisible and virtually undetectable without the use of detection technology. In enclosed spaces such as a garage, where carbon monoxide is produced from a car’s exhaust, engines should not be turned on without the provision of adequate ventilation. Most people will not realise they are being poisoned until it is too late. Carbon Monoxide detectors are now commonly available to the general public, but as usual, there are so many manufacturers and models to choose from, one becomes confused as to which one to buy. Following are amongst the top ten products available with their most salient features listed.
BRK Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Combo Alarm, 120 Volt AC/DC, SC9120B
This unit has an electrochemical Carbon Monoxide Sensor, which is considered the most reliable type. It has a single button test/silence and a 9 volt alkaline battery backup. There is a Latching alarm indicator meaning it remembers which unit started an alarm. There is an End of Life Signal to provide audible warning as to when the unit needs to be replaced. Unit comes with a 7 years Limited Warranty.
First Alert BRK 3120B Hardwire Dual Photoelectric and Ionization Sensor Smoke Alarm
Unit is equipped with dual photoelectric and Ionization sensing technology, for redundancy. There is Optipath 360 Technology which provides gas with all around access to the sensors. There is a single button silence/test, and a loud 85dB alarm. Powered by 2 AA Batteries for more power, it carries a 10 Year Limited Warranty.
Gogogu YW-002 Carbon Monoxide Detector and Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Unit has an advanced level of protection with an easy to read digital display showing the level of carbon monoxide the unit is sensing. A green LED flashes, every 30 seconds indicating proper operation. A red LED will start to flash when levels of carbon monoxide reach dangerous levels and a loud alarm will sound.
Quantum Guardian Carbon Monoxide (CO) Alarm Detector
This unit has been tested by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory to be the most reliable. It is also stated to incorporate biotechnology with a solid state infrared design, meaning there are no moving parts. The unit meets UL standards.
Kidde 900-0235 Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Alarm
Equipped with a tamper resist feature, the unit goes into constant alarm mode if it has been unplugged. There is a 9 Volt Battery for backup and a standard Test/Reset button. It has a 7 Year end of life warning, alerting a user to replace the unit. Manufacturer claims a 40% longer life span than other alarms. The unit meets UL standards.
Reading the above, a few conclusions can be made before a purchase is done. The unit must be approved by Underwriters Laboratories, which is the industry standard. Unit must have a hassle free installation process. There should be provision to add multiple alarms to form a network. Warranty must be over 5 to 7 years. Test function must be as idiot proof as possible. It should be loud enough to wake up a person from the deepest sleep.