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Carbon Monoxide (CO) Sensors

spaceage security systems

Carbon Monoxide is a colorless, odorless, and highly poisonous gas that is produced when fuels containing carbon are burned. It is lighter than air and as such tends to rise under normal conditions. It is dangerous because when it is inhaled it combines with hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying substance in blood cells, and prevents them from absorbing needed oxygen. This lack of oxygen causes headaches, nausea, followed by unconsciousness and ultimately death. Since it is odorless, one may be exposed to dangerous levels without knowing it. It is also called silent killer.

Types Of CO Detectors

There are 2 basic types of CO detectors, Biometric and Taguchi. Biometric units, utilize a semi-permeable gel that changes color when exposed to CO. This gel absorbs CO at the same rate as human hemoglobin, and its color is directly related to the amount of CO absorbed. The detector has a light beam which passes through the gel and senses the change in color, activating the device. Taguchi units, also called tin oxide, utilize a special semiconductor that changes its resistance when exposed to CO. The detector senses this change and activates the unit.

Installation Of Detectors

Due to its lighter than air composition Carbon Monoxide detectors should be located centrally near the top of a wall or on a ceiling and not in a corner. In addition do not locate it within 5 feet of a CO producing source, such as furnace, since false alarms may occur.

What To Do If Carbon Monoxide Is Detected?

If your Carbon Monoxide detector activates you should leave the location immediately and check to make sure everyone got out. You can open the windows to ventilate the area and clean out the CO buildup. Do not take any chances, it is much better to call for assistance than to become another statistic. It is also possible for CO poisoning to occur from faulty exhaust pipes on automobiles or trucks. If you begin to experience headaches or nausea while driving or riding in an automobile or truck, you should open the windows immediately and have the exhaust system checked. Never keep the car engine running in a closed garage as the slow build up of CO within the garage could be disastrous.

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