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Installing (and maintaining) carbon monoxide detectors in your home is one of the best ways to protect the health and safety of your family. Each year, according to the CDC, at least 430 people die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and about 50,000 people go to emergency rooms due to accidental carbon monoxide poisoning.
"Carbon monoxide poisoning is the second leading cause of poisoning in the home, that's how serious and common it is," explains Chuck Roydhouse , retired professional firefighter and president of the American Institute for Fireplace Safety . Carbon monoxide detectors are important because not all sources of gas are obvious and the gas cannot be detected on its own. 'Carbon monoxide is colorless, odorless, and tasteless; without a carbon monoxide detector, you may not know you are exposed to carbon monoxide until it is almost too late, ”explains Roydhouse.
The initial symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning can also be mistaken for other medical conditions. '[It causes] a lot of flu-like symptoms (headache, nausea, vomiting, dizziness, shortness of breath, and fatigue), so when you have carbon monoxide symptoms in the winter, you can assume you have the flu. , "he continues.
This is especially true, he says, because the most common source of carbon monoxide in a home is home heating systems , which are used in winter, a season that is also flu season. The greatest risk of carbon monoxide poisoning in the home comes from gas and wood burning appliances , such as gas stoves, gas stoves, stoves, water heaters, and clothes dryers. Other potential sources are "internal combustion engines like portable generators, cars and lawn mowers," says Carla Crossweith-Chigbu of the CPSC (US Consumer Product Safety Commission).
Portable generators are particularly reliable during hurricane season, as NOAA predicts that "the average Atlantic hurricane season will reflect more storms." However, portable generators can put people at increased risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and fire.
The good news is that carbon monoxide detectors are relatively affordable, reliable, and easy to install.
These are the best carbon monoxide detectors on the market today.
Our top picks
It gives you the ability to test the alarm from your phone and get a full report when you are ready.
Functional and reliable, just turn it on and you're protected.
It has an easy-to-read digital display that constantly shows the carbon monoxide level.
Ultralight, you can take it with you on the road.
Easy to install, it runs on just two AA batteries and is compatible with select smart home devices.
You can use this as another Alexa device or speaker to play music.
It detects natural gas, methane and propane and ignites when a dangerous level is reached.
Hybrid Smoke / Carbon Monoxide Detector
Compatible with the Google Nest family
Available corded or rechargeable
Whether you have a smart home or not, this hybrid carbon monoxide and smoke detector is the best on the market. This gives you the ability to verify the alarm from your phone and will send you a full report when the verification is complete. It will also remind you to check your alarm in case you don't, and if it receives a battery, it will alert you when the battery is running low.
The device connects to the entire Google Nest family, where you can control all your smart devices in one app. Best of all, it will notify you and 911 in an emergency, even if you are not at home. "When people get back into the habit of going back to work outside the home, this will be a good opportunity," says Roydhouse. "It prevents you from going home and being exposed, and it allows you to take action if there are pets, children or the elderly in the house."
Charging type: corded or rechargeable | Additional functions: smoke detector, Google Nest connection, smart functions, telephone connection, remote test.
Easy to use
Very loud alarm
Small and compact
Only 8 hours of battery life
This carbon monoxide detector may be simple, but it is functional, reliable, and very easy to use. Just plug it in and you're protected, with a seven-year limited warranty. It's also incredibly affordable, and you can even buy a three-pack if you'd like, to cover every floor in your home. It plugs into the mains, but it also comes with a battery in the event of a power outage.
Charging type: Plug-in, battery backup | Added functions: No
Easy-to-read digital display
Portable from room to room
Plug with backup battery and extra cord
No smart features
When it comes to a removable carbon monoxide detector, you need three things: reliability, ease of use, and accuracy – and this one has all three. It features an easy-to-read digital display that continuously shows carbon monoxide levels , as well as a button to remind you of the highest maximum carbon monoxide level in your home. It can also be unplugged and relocated to a new room when you need to read data quickly, and it won't shut down in a power outage, thanks to its battery backup.
Charging type: Plug-in | Additional functions: digital display with quick read function, backup battery, maximum level button
What the experts say
'What makes Kidde Nighthawk great is that they are affordable and fast. Anyone could buy it for around $ 30 and install it in about two to three minutes. All you really have to do is open the package, insert the 9V battery, and connect the detector. " – Chuck Roydhouse – retired professional firefighter, president of CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America).
Weighing just two ounces, this ultralight and portable carbon monoxide detector is ideal to take with you anywhere. You can check for exhaust leaks in your car, plane or just use it when traveling or for quick reading around the house. It is sensitive to carbon monoxide levels of up to nine parts per million (ppm), much lower than most household detectors.
Charging type: battery | Added functions: portable
First Alert is one of the most trusted brands and their two-in-one detector does not disappoint. It is very easy to install and runs on just two AA batteries. It also works with select smart home devices, including Ring and Samsung SmartThings, and allows you to use it in an app. More importantly, it is a reliable and accurate smoke and carbon monoxide detector that has a loud enough alarm to alert you to a problem.
Charging type: battery | Additional features: tamper-proof battery cover
Not only is this carbon monoxide detector a smoke detector, it is also packed with smart features including built-in Alexa, a Bluetooth speaker, and the ability to send push notifications directly to your phone. In other words, you can use this as another Alexa device or speaker to play music.
Type of load: wired | Additional functions: night light, compatible with Alexa, Bluetooth speaker
Small and compact
Plugs into a standard electrical outlet
Backup battery in case of power failure
Detects gases and carbon monoxide
If you are concerned about more than carbon monoxide, this detector is the safety device you need to track any dangerous gas in your home. Not only does it detect carbon monoxide, it also detects natural gas, methane, and propane. It's also fairly compact and plugs directly into your outlet, although it's worth noting that it generally blocks the use of another outlet. Additionally, it has a 9V battery backup in the event of a power outage and a digital display that shows the level of danger when an alarm is triggered. You can also press any button to display the current danger levels.
Charging type: Plug-in with battery backup | Additional functions: gas detector, digital display
If you have a smart home, and you don't mind the extra costs, then the Google Nest Protect smoke and monoxide alarm is for you (see on Amazon ). It will remind you when it's time for a test, alert you when the battery is low, and easily alert you on your phone in the event of a problem. But if you want something simpler and more affordable, experts love the Kidde Nighthawk Carbon Monoxide Detector (see on Amazon ) for its reliability, durability, and ease of use.
What to look for in a carbon monoxide detector
Of course, the most important thing is that your carbon monoxide detector is accurate. Pay close attention to your sensitivity and what levels of carbon monoxide you can detect. Some detectors are much more sensitive to low gas levels than others, which can save you valuable time in an emergency.
Carbon monoxide detectors can be wired, battery powered, plug-in, or a combination of both. The choice of what you get is up to you, primarily a matter of your preference. However, there are a few things to keep in mind. If your detector is wired or plug-in, you will need to look for devices that have battery backup in case the power goes out because leaks often go unnoticed. If you choose a battery-powered device, remember to check the battery level frequently to make sure your detector continues to function properly.
CrossWhite-Chigbu recommends: "The best way to protect your family is to install battery-powered CO alarms or battery-backed CO alarms in your home outside of separate sleeping areas and on each floor of your home." Proper maintenance should not be taken lightly either, as the CO alarm must be activated before the carbon monoxide reaches a fatal level. 'Replace the alarm batteries at least once a year. Check your alarms every month to make sure they work, ”he says.
Easy to use
After all, if your carbon monoxide detector is difficult to use, you are not going to use it. Make sure it's easy to install and easy to use when it comes time to schedule a test, check battery levels, or read carbon monoxide levels.
If you want to keep your family safe, you may want to look for a carbon monoxide detector with additional features. For example, some are two-in-one devices that act as smoke detectors, while others can detect other dangerous gases.
You may also be interested in having some smart features, especially if your home is already connected to other smart features. Also, some will send alerts directly to your phone or allow you to schedule tests while you are away. If you like these features, look for detectors that pair with Google Home, Alexa, or have phone connectivity.
Frequently asked questions
Carbon monoxide detectors should be placed on every floor of your home and near your bedrooms. You'll want to mount them on a wall at least five feet above the ground. If you have a garage, you should place it close to that location, especially if it is adjacent to your home.
"Often times, even if you start your car with the garage door open and turn off the car almost immediately, there is residual carbon monoxide in the garage," explains Roydhouse. "If you heat your home with a forced air system, when you turn it on it creates a negative pressure that draws air out of a leaking door … [and] could potentially attract carbon monoxide and push it through your duct, spreading throughout your house. "…
Do not place the detector indoors the garage is true, only in the area of the house next door. Also, you should not install sensors near the combustion chamber or any fuel burning device.
Carbon monoxide detectors typically last five to seven years, although this depends on the type you buy. Be sure to check your user manual to be sure. However, no matter how long it lasts, you should get in the habit of checking it monthly to make sure it still works, and you'll want to change the batteries every six months or so.
"Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors when you change clocks in the fall and spring," says Roydhouse. "If you change the batteries every six months when you jump forward and fall backward, you should be in great shape."
No, most simple carbon monoxide detectors cannot detect gas leaks.
However, there are several specialized gas leak detectors that detect explosive gases (such as natural gas, propane, or methane) that also detect carbon monoxide, but you need a specialized hybrid device such as First Alert Explosive Gas and Carbon. Rust rust detector ( see on Amazon ).
What the experts say
'You don't need anything too expensive or out of the ordinary. The things that increase costs are different characteristics, but they should all have a minimum standard of how they work. So if you're looking for something simple to worry about when a problem occurs, either option will work, no matter the price. ” – Chuck Roydhouse is a retired professional firefighter and president of CSIA (Chimney Safety Institute of America).
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