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CO Detectors...concerned HO needs Experts Opinions

Mark Hunt
Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
> I'm opening this new thread as a result of <BR>
> reading another thread stating: "Any UL2034 <BR>
> approved alarm will never alarm nor display below <BR>
> 30ppm - ever. Below 70ppm a UL approved alarm can <BR>
> display but is prohibited from alarming." I <BR>
> myself am a safety conscious HO, who values my <BR>
> family's health and life. Are you guys saying <BR>
> that the CO detectors that we HO's purchase are <BR>
> NOT worth the $$ we spend on them? and are you <BR>
> guys saying if I REALLY want to secure my <BR>
> family's health & safety I should look into these <BR>
> professional models that are more sensitive? Are <BR>
> we (stupid) HO's being duped into believing we're <BR>
> safe....and we're NOT??....This topic really <BR>
> concerns me...please help me better understand. <BR>
<BR>


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Comments

  • Brian_18
    Brian_18 Member Posts: 94
    CO Detectors..HO needs Experts Opinions

    I'm opening this new thread as a result of reading another thread stating: "Any UL2034 approved alarm will never alarm nor display below 30ppm - ever. Below 70ppm a UL approved alarm can display but is prohibited from alarming." I myself am a safety conscious HO, who values my family's health and life. Are you guys saying that the CO detectors that we HO's purchase are NOT worth the $$ we spend on them? and are you guys saying if I REALLY want to secure my family's health & safety I should look into these professional models that are more sensitive? Are we (stupid) HO's being duped into believing we're safe....and we're NOT??....This topic really concerns me...please help me better understand.


  • Gene_3
    Gene_3 Member Posts: 289
    No you're not stupid

    they just don't explain well. CO Alarms / systems generally alarm when the CO level is high.

    Detectors tend to be cumulative, they will alarm when the Co is high or if they have accumulated a significant amount of CO over a long period of time. So you may have low CO that is not dangerous at any given moment it is just going on for a long period of time, both are bad, it does however make it difficult for us to find the source.

    It could be candles, smokers, starting you car in the morning, your neighbor running their car etc.

    That is why when it goes off you should treat it as worse case scenario and have it checked out.

    The expensive models with a digital readout will tell you exactly how many PPM you have at any given moment.

    Hope that helps.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    That is exactly what I am saying.


    And you are not stupid.

    Acute CO poisoning makes the news because someone is either dead or close to it.

    Chroninc CO poisoning happens when people are exposed to smaller concentrations of CO for extended periods of time. UL listed alarms will not alert you to the issue.

    There is something else to remember. Each person has a different tolerance for CO. So while you might not be harmed at 15ppm, someone else in your home might be. Children and elderly folks are more suceptible to low levels of CO. A friend of mine is a volunteer fireman and it is mandatory that they suit up with full breathing apparatus when CO levels reach 10ppm. A UL compliant CO alarm wouldn't even know that there was 10ppm of CO in the space.

    If you want to see why UL set these usless standars, read this.

    In fact, spend some time at that site. You will come away with a better understanding of this issue.

    Mark H

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  • joel_19
    joel_19 Member Posts: 931
    dtectors

    We sell loe level ones they just aren't ul approved because they are low level
  • Rudy
    Rudy Member Posts: 482
    Hi Brian

    Those alarm thresholds you mentioned are the best case scenero.

    I posted the link to this news segment a couple weeks ago, if you missed it, take a look:

    http://www.bacharach-training.com/Channel 13.wmv

    A local TV station purchased 8 commonly available CO alarms from a hardware store in Grand Rapids, Mi. None went off when exposed to 90 ppm CO. We placed them directly under the tailpipe of a SUV. My test instrument maxes out at 2,000ppm, so levels in excess of 2,000ppm only got 5 of the 8 to alarm....

    The Gas Research Institute did a study in 1999 on "The Performance and Reliability of CO Alarms" on 90 alarms they purchased on San Fran and Chicago.

    The found 38% failed right out of the box.....

    You can get to the link through the CO-Experts website:

    http://www.coexperts.com/gri.htm

    They sum up the report by stating something like 'meeting the UL2034 standard does not assure the performance, nor the reliability of approved alarms'.

    Alot of other good info on the CO-Experts website as well.

  • Dan_15
    Dan_15 Member Posts: 388


    Just another HO perspective:

    I have the NSI 3000 low-level detector and I have found it to be slightly better than Co-experts.

    http://www.nationalcomfortinstitute.com/members/products2.cfm?product_id=21&amp;Cat=Consumer Products

    It will display as low as 5ppm and is expected to last 5-8 years before the sensor dies. It is not as easy to get. They are only sold through contractors, and while I'm sure there are many out there who offer it, they are located sort of randomly.

    I purchased mine through the mail at a company I found on the internet.
    (http://www.realpages.com/sites/sunsetmechanical/index.html).

    They charged me $129 (good price) and shipped it for $5.00. Took a credit card and I received it in 2 days. Works like a charm; could not have been easier.
  • Rudy
    Rudy Member Posts: 482
    You are right Dan

    I've also hammered my NSI alarm with a bunch of different levels of CO calibration gas - the only other low level alarm out there.

    It is also very accurate as well as responsive and does read at lower levels.

    Actually, both are tough to get ahold of, but it's certainly well worth the effort.

    Another consideration, I started looking into UL approved smoke alarms. From what I understand, the commonly available models have also been dumbed down to eliminate false alarms.

    Think about this. Remember when they first came out? You took a shower, boiled water, stirred up a bunch of dust, what happened?

    Anything set them off.

    Think about the ones you have in your home now. Do they ever alarm? (Except when you hit the test button)

    75% of the folks who die in a home fire don't die from burns, they die from (among other poisonous gases) CO poisoning....

    Those low level alarms are not UL approved to be used as smoke alarms but common sense tells me that a slow smoldering fire will set off my low level CO alarms way before one of the smoke alarms goes off....

    Read an article last weekend that found that deaths from home fires were no lower in homes with working smoke alarms than in homes without smoke alarms.

    I gotta wonder why that is.....

    JMHO
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    CO accounts


    for 80% of fire related deaths.

    Having a low level alarm will definately offer better protection for all of the people in the dwelling. The concern is that when someone sees a level 5 or 10 in their home, will they know what to do or who to call?

    This is where I believe that we as contractors have to step up to the plate.

    Get trained, get testing, protect your customers.

    Haven't heard a good reason yet not to do this.

    Mark H

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  • Jim Davis
    Jim Davis Member Posts: 305
    NSI 3000 Monitor

    The reason Low Level Monitors or at least the NSI is harder to get is because we want to make sure the consumer has someone to call that can actually find a problem if the Monitor goes off. It alarms before anyone gets sick therfore many people will call it a false alarm. If you read all the stories about CO poisonings where people do get sick or die no one ever seems to be able to identify the real problem. They just guess at it which leaves the rest of the occupants still in danger.
  • dean_15
    dean_15 Member Posts: 2
    CO detectors

    Sorry Jim your reason why the NSI and other low level detectors are hard to get is stupid. Everyone and I mean everyone needs reliable low level CO detectors PERIOD. Low level CO exposure make people sick and can kill those people with compromised respritory systems.That is what happened to my mother-in-law two years ago (search for the post). The fact is if a low level CO detector goes off it goes off for a reason and the owner should assume that it went off because of the presence of CO and remove themselves and their family from the home until the cause is determined. The consumer should be educated up front about this and the posibility that it MAY just MAY be a false alarm.. Making these items hard to get just contributes to the problem we have related to CO poisonings and exposure every year. And if it alarms for no reason SO WHAT at least no one was harmed and the consumer knows nothing is wrong. It's a hell of a lot cheaper than spending a week in an ICU because of CO poisoning (search for my post on that subject).
    Brian get yourself a low level CO detector educate your self about its use and keep yourself and your family safe.
  • Mitch_6
    Mitch_6 Member Posts: 549
    Co alarms and Stupid people

    I cannot tell you how many time I am working in a house and find the co (or smoke) alarms unplugged/battery pulled.

    (This does not include batteries left to die.)

    I ask the home owner why it is the co alarm shut off.

    They tell me because it kept going off.

    The stupid will kill themselves and all around.

    Unfortunately the only low level stand alone alarms I can find on the market in stores all say in there instructions no protection under 30ppm. The NSI alarms cost the contractor more than the in store to purchase, I bought a bunch investing about $1,000.00 @ $69.00 each and was lucky if I could sell them for $85.00 each. Yes I plan to buy some more since I cannot find a substitute and like to have a couple in my truck but have to by them in bulk.

    I would also like to find an equivalent model that plugs in for areas people may not notice a dead battery.

    Mitch S.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909
    Dean


    I understand your reasoning and I agree to a point.

    Mitch made a valid point about unplugged or disconnected CO alarms.

    There is a story on our web site about a situation that happened a few years ago. Six people were killed in a home after the homeowner pulled the battery out of his CO alarm because it kept going off. He NEVER called anyone to find out if it was a false alarm or not, he just pulled the battery. Well it was going off because there was CO spilling into the house and as I said, six people died. The man's two year old daughter, his parents, some relatives that were visiting and a baby-sitter. All dead. He found them when he came home from work. Want to know what he does for a living? He is a doctor. Our Carbon Monoxide page.

    I have a friend that works for the areas largest heating company. Been there for 15 years. He installed a CO alarm in his house and one day it started going off. He took it outside(as per manufacturers instructions) to "clear" the alarm and brought it back in. It went off again. So he pulled the batteries and threw the alarm away. I went to his house and we found that when he installed his new furnace, a 90+% model, he did not bother to run the combustion intake to the outdoors and he was depressurizing the basement enough to pull combustion products from the water heater. But he never checked anything and he is supposed to be "the pro". If he had been called to someone's home where a low level alarm was indicating an issue, he would not know how to test anything to find the source or reason for the CO. In fact, no-one in that entire company could since there isn't one digital combustion analyser in the place.

    So there is the rub and I am torn about it. On one hand I want people to be alerted BEFORE someone is sick or killed, but then I don't want them to get bogus information from people that haven't a clue about CO, combustion, venting and testing. What to do?

    This is why I post the CO stories. To get contractors to understand how important they are as the first and best line of defense against CO poisonings.

    Again, I understand your frustration, but it is our industry that is resisting. Guys like Jim Davis should be booked solid with classes EVERYDAY. They aren't.

    Mark H



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  • dean_15
    dean_15 Member Posts: 2
    stupid people

    Unfortunately there are truly stupid people and there are those who are simply ignorant. The first you usually can't do much about. The second however can usually be educated. There are many people who truly do want to keep themselves and there families safe. These are the one who need the low level CO detectors. They just don't know the difference. They need to be educated about these things and how and why they operate. This is where you come in. However making these items difficult to get doesn't help the problem.
  • gasfolk
    gasfolk Member Posts: 392
  • gasfolk
    gasfolk Member Posts: 392
    Disabled carbon monoxide detector

    ROSLYN HEIGHTS, New York, May 9, 2000
This discussion has been closed.