You can have it passing through your home at high levels and not be able to detect it with your nose or eyes. You and your family can be going about your normal day or even sleeping at night when something goes wrong in your home, causing carbon monoxide to build up. If you do not have a window or door open at the time this gas builds up quickly and can cause symptoms such as disorientations, nausea, vomiting, headache, etc.
Luckily, a number of different carbon monoxide detectors are available for purchase and they can detect very low levels of CO in your home. When CO is detected, the alarm will sound at a very high decibel; alerting you that there is a problem. You can immediately open up your home to air out and then address the problem. Carbon monoxide detectors have electrochemical sensors in them and are designed to withstand changes in temperature, humidity and they are able to tell the difference between carbon monoxide and household chemicals such as chlorine or ammonia. Most CO detectors plug into a wall socket and also have a backup battery but there are other freestanding units that allow for placement wherever you need them.
Some of the best carbon monoxide detectors on the market include:
Best Carbon Monoxide Detector to Buy
This carbon monoxide detector provides some of the best home protection for an extremely affordable price. The Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM Battery-Operated Carbon Monoxide Alarm with Digital Display is freestanding and can be placed anywhere in your home and can be moved around if desired. It can also be attached to the wall. It runs off of three double A batteries and measures carbon monoxide over time. The alarm will sound for this unit once the level of CO reaches 70 parts per million. There is a digital display on the front of the unit that will show the current reading for you to easily view.
Every 15 seconds the reading will update, giving the new findings. This update feature is extremely useful. If you enter your garage, open the door and start your car you will have carbon monoxide in your garage until it airs out. If you happen to have a poorly insulated home or you open the house door to the garage, some of the CO can waft in. This isn’t healthy but it isn’t deadly either. The detector will likely sound at this new reading but when it refreshes you will see that the level has gone back down.
The Kidde KN-COPP-B-LPM Alarm has a low battery indicator and an LED light that pulses when there is a carbon monoxide reading that has not yet been cleared or updated. As with the majority of carbon monoxide detectors, this unit has a life expectancy of seven years. A manufacturer’s warranty is in effect for the first five years.
Best Dual Power Carbon Monoxide
This unit also uses electrochemical sensors to detect carbon monoxide levels. This unit can be plugged into a wall outlet and it also houses two double A batteries for backup power. The LED display of the First Alert CO615 Dual Power Carbon Monoxide Plug-In Alarm featuring Battery Backup and Digital Display has a backlight for clear readings and you can change the battery from the front of the unit rather than having to remove the unit from the wall. This is convenient because when you remove the unit from the wall it often sounds the alarm to let you know something is wrong. This can be a nuisance when you have to change the batteries.
If carbon monoxide is detected over time an 85 decibel alarm will sound. There is also a low battery alarm and an alarm that will sound at 7 years; the time that your unit will need to be replaced.
Best Carbon Monoxide Detector for the Money
The Prevalert P918 is a newly released unit that features some of the latest technological updates when it comes to CO detectors. Electrochemical sensors continually monitor the air in your home and this unit is best used when placed somewhere in your home at face height. This is recommended with this unit because carbon monoxide weighs the same as the air we breathe. It is not like smoke that rises. A mounting bracket is included to properly install the unit.
This unit is reasonably priced and Prevalert recommends that you keep one in every room of your home as well as the basement. This unit runs off of battery power only as the company recommends that you do not rely on a power source to do the readings for you. This detector will sound at 50 parts per million which is one of the lowest readings available on the market right now.