Carbon monoxide, often referred to by its chemical name CO, has been dubbed the ‘silent killer.’ It is odorless, tasteless, and colorless, making it nearly impossible to detect without using gas sensing technology. Nearly 500 people in the U.S. die each year from CO poisoning and another 10,000 require medical treatment. Fortunately, installing and maintaining carbon monoxide detectors is simple and inexpensive.
CO detectors are available in several types. Biomimetic detectors use biotechnology to detect and alert to high levels of CO. Just as blood darkens when it is exposed to CO, biomimetic sensors use metal salts and other compounds that darken proportionately to the level of CO it is exposed to. This can be observed directly or with photodiodes that trigger an alarm if the level of CO is unsafely high. These sensors have approximately a 6 year lifespan and are preferred in hospitals, hotels, and apartments.
Electrochemical detectors are a type of fuel cell that use the presence of CO to produce an electric current that triggers an alarm. If enough CO is present to trigger a strong enough current, unsafe levels of CO have been detected and an alarm is sounded. These are the preferred sensors in the USA and have approximately a 5 year life span. What adds to their appeal is that they are highly affordable, usually costing $15-$45!
Carbon monoxide detectors are an affordable appliance that can be the difference between a mere fright and tragedy. It is recommended to test your CO detector at the start of every season. For professional carbon monoxide detector maintenance and service, call extreme at one of our locations.