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Carbon Monoxide Detector Reviews

Best Carbon Monoxide Detector:

Carbon monoxide poisoning is a serious threat and over 2000 people die each year from it in North America alone. Millions of carbon monoxide detectors are sold each year as homeowners try to protect themselves from this dangerous gas that can build up and kill. Fireplaces and furnaces are the leading cause of carbon monoxide poisoning, but usually due to faulty equipment. A carbon monoxide sensor, or monitor, can sound an alarm if levels get too high in your house allowing you to leave and be safe. Experts agree that at least 1 carbon monoxide detector should be in everyones home or apartment. For $40 or less you can get the piece of mind that your carbon monoxide detector alarm is keeping you safe while you sleep.

Best Carbon Monoxide Sensors:

You will find 3 main types of carbon monoxide detectors sold in stores or online - electrochemical, metal oxide semiconductor, and biomimetic. The electrochemical carbon monoxide detectors are the most expensive and the most sensitive to carbon monoxide. The technology in these sensors relies upon 3 platinum electrodes that reside in electrolyte solution. The alarm will sound when carbon monoxide comes into contact with the electrodes (energy is created). Unfortunately the sensors on these types only last about 2 years so you need to replace them more often than other varieties. The older metal oxide semiconductor carbon monoxide detectors use lots of energy in order to operate and need to be plugged into the wall with an AC power supply. They detect higher levels of carbon monoxide using heated tin oxide. The tin oxide will react when it is exposed to a high enough level of carbon monoxide and then you will be alerted with an alarm sounding off. Experts agree that metal oxide semiconductor carbon monoxide detectors can give false readings due to other chemicals in your house and if there are high levels of humidity in the surrounding area the sensor will lose it's responsiveness. Lastly, the gel coated disc that resides in the biomimetic carbon monoxide detectors will turn black when carbon monoxide levels reach dangerous heights. The alarm will sound giving you warning that the carbon monoxide levels are elevated and you could be in danger. Biomimetic sensors are cheaper than other types of carbon monoxide monitors but their accuracy is not nearly as good as the others. Owners note that high/low temperatures can set them off and even areas with high humidity can give false readings. The plus side is that they use very little energy in order to operate. Battery powered carbon monoxide detectors are probably the best you can buy since they can be placed at eye level which is what experts recommend. However, when the batteries are dead, the unit will not function anymore meaning the owner needs to replace the batteries each year to make sure they are good. If you are the type to forget things like batteries, then consider the AC powered detectors that will always have power (and usually have a battery backup for blackouts or power outages). Some units can be wired into the electrical system in your house and those are usually placed on the ceiling or high on the wall where carbon monoxide is best measured. What features are important to look for? Basic sensors have LED lights that will tell you the current level of carbon monoxide in the home. The digital display carbon monoxide monitors have a small screen that will display information like past or current levels of carbon monoxide. Kidde is the maker of talking carbon monoxide detectors and they keep records via voice recordings. Look for a unit that will keep data like past carbon monoxide levels so you can check how current levels stack up to past levels. Definitely test your sensor often so you know that it is working. You'll find a test button on almost all units. The top brand names are Kidde, First Alert, Universal Security Instruments, and BRK Electronics. Prices range from $20 to $60 and you will find some that incorporate a smoke detector into the mix as well giving you double the protection. The Kidde 900-0146 gets top billing on many reputable websites, but we also found just as compelling articles on the First Alert CO600 Plug In which sells for half as much. There are great reviews on Amazon.com and About.com and Consumer Reports did an article on CO detectors back in 2005. We have listed our findings below with descriptions, prices, and places to buy them at. BUYING ADVICE - We recommend shopping on Amazon.com. With the biggest inventory of any online store and tons of owner reviews for each product you can't lose. You can browse their top selling carbon monoxide detectors here.

RECOMMENDED - The Kidde KN-COPP-B Front Load Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display ($25-$30) is mid range on price, but full featured. This CO alarm has a readable digital display and an 85 decibel horn and a low battery announcement so you know when you need to replace the 3 AA batteries it requires to run on. There is a test/reset button and Kidde offers a 5 year limited warranty on the product. The electrochemical sensor is accurate and gives out precise readings on the digital display. You can find it online at Amazon.com or in stores like Home Depot. Looks for sales on this unit as we heard from some readers who found for closer to $20.

If you are the type who doesn't always put fresh batteries in your appliances or gadgets to keep them running, then we suggest going with the First Alert CO600 Plug In Carbon Monoxide Alarm ($20). The AC plug will go into any 120 volt outlet in your house and the electrochemical CO sensor is the most accurate technology available. Use the test/silence button once a year to make sure the unit is working properly. Owners say it's easy to install and they love not having to worry about remembering to put new batteries into it.

Another top ranked CO monitor is the First Alert CO615 Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm with Battery Backup and Digital Display ($35). Reviews are more than positive for this unit and First Alert has an excellent reputation in this field for precise and reliable CO monitors. The backlit LED display will let you know what the current carbon monoxide levels are. Many consumers say they like the fact that the unit has a power backup with the 9V battery giving them piece of mind during a power outage. Most experts say to replace most CO detectors after 5 years since their sensors can go bad. First Alert carbon monoxide alarms can be found online.

Top Selling Carbon Monoxide Detectors:



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