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along with nuisance shut down. The system will have to be very accurate and able to shut down only in the event of a dangerous situation otherwise we will all go NUTS with CALLS.


  • Servicewiz_2
    Servicewiz_2 Member Posts: 28

    I have a question about Carbon Monoxide and oil burners.If oil burners do produce CO in the flue gases then why is it that you hear of all the dangers of CO only on Gas Burners?
  • Simple answer

    I am sure others will give much more detail. Oil has a visible light detector most of the time the CAD cell (older systems a stack relay). Gas has no such device and it is not feasible for gas as a CAD cell is a visible light detector. Gas does not give off sufficient visible light for a CAD cell to work. Gas gives off Infrared and Ultraviolet, industrial gas burners sometimes use ultraviolet detectors. They are not used on residential systems, I would guess due to cost and insurance requirements.

    The gas industry has put blocked vent switches (spill switches) flame roll out switches and some other attempts at solving these problems. They do not do the complete job.

    We actually need a detector in the flues that detect CO and shut the system down requiring a professional, qualified service technician to restablish operation after determining the cause of shut down. It does not yet exist.

    Gas Warm Air furnaces tend to be one of the top causes of CO poisioning in the country, automobile exhaust I believe is number one. The fact that a duct system is attached and the possibility for leakage into that system is always present we hear more about gas.

    Hope this answers your question as asked. Others perhaps will offer more scientific explanations.
  • Mark A. Custis
    Mark A. Custis Member Posts: 247
    CO fail safe is almost here

    Check with Arzel Zoning. Board is done, all they need is a reasonably priced sorce for the sensors. One sniff of CO and down she goes


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  • Firedragon_4
    Firedragon_4 Member Posts: 1,436
    Great answer for a gas guy, FACT!

  • Mark A. Custis
    Mark A. Custis Member Posts: 247
    Hey now

    I abuse all fuels equally. I like oil, the wife says she can "smell" if I've been working on #1 or #2 fired equipment. I must admit I could not help Timmie with the butane thing.

    Last time I was at Arzel I spoke with the enginerring guys and they are looking for an affordable sensor. What a treat to set up a home to shut down then autopurge. I can hardly wait.


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  • Sounds like

    a lot of nuisance lock outs to me... Remember the first CO detectors that came out and would alarm at a low ambient level???

    Didn't the whole city of New York go on alert one night shortly after those things hit the market during an inversion?

    Hope these guys learn something from that experience.

  • Glenn Harrison
    Glenn Harrison Member Posts: 405
    I don't know about New York,

    But Chicago went thru a major prolem with the first round of detectors going off due to atmospheric conditions. Many fire and gas co. personell didn't get any sleep that week.

    Glenn Harrison, Residential Service Tech

    Althoff Industries Inc. Mechanical and Electrical Services

    Crystal Lake, Illinois

    Althoff Industries website
  • gas man
    gas man Member Posts: 16
    lived thru- co detector hell !

    Work for a local utility , the best anyone can due is to educate oneself about co , install a decent detector ,any work done on the home be sure and ask yourself , can this effect my heating system in anyway ,even a piece of weather stripping could be the straw ! and maintain your system .A co detector w/ a spill switch ,is far better than a detector alone ! On a heating call recently -- upon leaving I was asked why ,every morning when making coffee w/ breakfast etc.their eyes water and they feel lousy- (very small kitchen ,w/ door -limiting air supply !! also company has been there for this complaint before! I checked for co on the top burners - all was normal - they were telling me about their old coffee pot - I asked to see it and placed it on the stove , asked her to set the flame height ,which she did correctly - low an behold - 240 to 250 ppm around the coffee pot - here's the picture -very small kitchen - no air flow - co from coffee pot- couple in their high eighties - could equal ????? lucky for me they were persistent in asking every tech that came to their home , they mentioned it only happens at breakfast , and they love coffee with their ol pot ! all my training pays off ,especially when the customer provides all the clues ! Don't just see the heating system , see the people, listen , see the dwelling and look for changes made and the unusual - - when I walked into the home my first thought was wow , what a small kitchen ! On the way out I was saying what a dangerous cute little kitchen !
  • jack_4
    jack_4 Member Posts: 43
    A question on the side

    I have what I think is a rather good CO detector installed.

    It has a test button that I use from time to time.

    It has never alarmed on it's own.

    Is there something I can do to test it with real CO? If I put it on an extention cord then stick it near my oven exhaust vent would it alarm. How about the exhaust stack on my DHW heater?

    I do test my smoke alarms from time to time with, smoke.
  • Keith_4
    Keith_4 Member Posts: 2

    There is no such thing as a nuisance alarm or shut-down. CO is deadly or debilitating in very small amounts. . . especially towards infants and the elderly. A french delegation in 2001 determined that almost 35% of sudden infant death cases can be linked to exposure to carbon monoxide. The hell with utility companies, let them have a sleepless night or two if it will save lives! The only acceptable level of CO ambient is 0 PPM! Check your CO detector. Chances are it only will alarm at 70 PPM after ONE HOUR of exposure OR MORE. At that level, a healthy adult can make it to safety (maybe), but you can count on grandma and grandpa not waking up. . . or worse, your newborn child suffering from effects equivilent to mental retardation. . . FOREVER! If you take your CO detector, put it on an extension cord, and put it too close to the oven or range, the heat from the vents will burn out your sensor and render it useless. For high-heat applications you must use a real digital CO meter. . . Bacharach and Testo make the best ones. If you don't have one, or can't afford to buy one, call a heating contractor that you know and ask him to come by for a half hour with his. If he doesn't have one, call someone else. Most ovens and ranges produce way too much CO. Open your shutters all the way. That will immediately decrease emanations. On an unvented appliance, you must supply a high outside vent (range hood, for example), and a LOW vent for CO2. . . unless you don't mind Foo-foo and the 6 month old suffocating because they're too close to the floor. Don't make that range hood too powerful, though, cause you might cause spillage at your heating equipment! THE IMPORTANCE OF CO TESTING CANNOT BE OVERSTATED. TO USE ONE WILL CHANGE YOUR UNDERSTANDING OF HEATING.
  • jack_4
    jack_4 Member Posts: 43

    I just wanted to find a way to be sure my alarm really worked.

    I'm not in need of high temp equipment.

    I understand your passion.

    If I just breath on the thing for a while, should this trigger it?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,716
    Nice Job, GasMan

    and it proves once again, the only real test is that done under conditions of actual use. Bet you had some serious impingement on that old coffee pot!

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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,716
    Amen, Keith

    couldn't have said it better myself.

    George, try the Find a Contractor page of this site to locate someone who can do a meaningful CO test. You may be surprised at what we find.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Rudy
    Rudy Member Posts: 482
    A good CO detector

    If you'ld like a recommendation on a 'good' alarm, check out the CO-Expert Low Level CO Monitors.

    It's ironic that if your alarm is UL approved it will not provide you and your family with adequate protection, particularly from continuous low level exposure.

    All the problems with alarms being 'too sensitive' is simply due to 'cheap' sensors being cross sensitive to a large number of other chemicals we commonly have in homes.

    The electrochemical sensors in the CO-Experts Monitors are cross sensitive to one thing - hydrogen, for example, from charging batteries.

    I have had two CO-Experts alarms in my own home for over a year and never had a false alarm. I also travel with one - its amazing where it goes off.

    If you want more info on the CO-Experts Monitors go to www.coexperts.com.
  • Mark Hunt
    Mark Hunt Member Posts: 4,909

    Take a look at the rating label on the CO detector you currently have. It will tell you at what level the alarm will sound.

    Most of the "off the shelf" units I come across will sound an alarm somewhere between 4 to 15 minutes when 400 parts per million of CO is detected. So breathing on it would not set it off.

    You owe it to your family and yourself to buy a GOOD CO alarm.

    Hope this helps.

    Mark H

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