This buying guide will tell you a little about carbon monoxide, its risks, and the differences between the products and services that are available to you. Did you know that hundreds of people die, or are seriously harmed, by carbon monoxide every year in North America? Many of these causalities happen in the home and all of them are avoidable.
The problem is that although we're well aware of the need for fire alarms and fire safety, we've not really caught up when it comes to carbon monoxide. One of the key reasons for this is that carbon monoxide isn't as “obvious” as fire. You can't see it, you can't smell it, it doesn't destroy property. It can be just as dangerous, however, and you might even argue that because it is relatively invisible it is actually much more dangerous.
Recent technological advances in CO detection
In the past, many detectors would comprise of small pieces of plastic with a chemical placed on them. This chemical would change colour in the presence of carbon monoxide, letting you know that it was present. This was fine if you kept a close eye on the colour at all times, but it was hardly efficient because you could have a rise in carbon monoxide levels whilst you're asleep, or you can simply forget to check it. The lifespan of these tests was also very limited, making the method useless after a relatively short period.
Modern carbon monoxide detectors and alarms are different, however. Most have a life of around five years, and they can tell you when something is wrong, not only visually but also by sounding an alarm. The most sophisticated of these alarms can also tell you where the problem is coming from and guide you to safety!
Modern carbon monoxide alert services can keep a regular check of the gas levels in your home, contacting you directly if the levels are unbalanced.
So, with recent technological advances, you can now instantly know of the dangers of cabon monoxide well before they have any effect on your health. Carbon monoxide detectors & monitoring services literally save lives.
What is carbon monoxide?
Carbon monoxide (also known as CO, and it is frequently referred to as CO in our reviews) is a gas that is formed when gases or materials that contain carbon are burned in an insufficient amount of oxygen. It is colourless, odourless and tasteless, making it difficult to detect without the right equipment. When carbon is burned, as is the case in car engines, home furnaces and many boilers, there is a risk of high levels of carbon monoxide being produced.
Why is carbon monoxide dangerous?
Essentially, carbon monoxide robs your blood of oxygen, suffocating you. This can cause brain damage or – in worst case scenarios – death. One of the main reasons it's dangerous, aside from its effects, is that it is hard to detect. This means that many people are unaware of its presence and unknowingly put themselves at risk.
How do carbon monoxide detectors help?
Carbon monoxide detectors analyse the air to test the concentration of carbon monoxide. If this is above what it should be, they will alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide. Sometimes it's just a case of making sure a window is opened but it can often need a professional to come and check that devices in your home are working properly.
Why use a carbon monoxide monitoring service?
These services keep a constant check on the carbon monoxide levels in your home. If they are abnormal then the central command centre is alerted, and they can get in touch with you to make sure you are okay and to give you the appropriate advice on what to do. They are a quick and efficient system for making sure you are out of danger's way. Everyone should consider a CO monitoring service. In particular, people (or the families of people) with impaired cognition or limited mobility should consider investing in a CO monitoring service, as it is a reassuring safe-guard to have, above and beyond the CO detector.
Carbon monoxide devices
We have examined the devices that are available from each company in detail. Most are quite similar and perform tests much in the same way. However, some are more sensitive than others and some offer additional controls or features that will help alert you to danger. We also consider how easy each detector is to install and maintain, its life expectancy (most last around five years), battery life, whether it's tamper proof and more.
If you want a monitoring service for your home then you'll be interested to know how they perform and the sorts of services they provide. We examine these factors, including response times and whether or not you'll be speaking to a human being or an automated system. We also think about how many additional services they provide and whether these might be useful to you, such as automated home systems or home security options.
Perhaps more than most services we review, the need for good customer service can be paramount when it comes to detecting carbon monoxide. We consider in what ways you are contacted, how flexible these communication methods are, and how much information is provided to you as a customer. Safety blogs and articles, as well as a variety of ways to contact customer services, are important factors in how we judge the effectiveness of a carbon monoxide monitoring service.
Value for money
You can either purchase an alarm, which you monitor for yourself, or a combined alarm and monitoring service. The latter is usually more expensive because you're paying for constant surveillance. However, these services can still offer great value for money and often combine home security features with the carbon monoxide monitoring services. It all depends on what you need and what you're willing to pay, so check out the list of costs and features available. A number of the sites we've reviewed only supply exact prices on request, and this will depend on what you're interested in paying for, so be aware that you may need to make an inquiry in order to find out the full cost of the products and services.
Renting, buying, installation and activation
When checking out any service be conscious of the fact that some sites will offer a monthly fee that includes everything whilst other websites may charge you separately for the equipment, activation and installation. These can soon mount up.
The Bottom Line
Carbon monoxide might be a real danger but, thanks to modern monitoring devices and services, you can significantly reduce the risk that you and your family will be affected by it. If you're interested in protecting yourself from the dangers of carbon monoxide then an alarm is absolutely necessary. There are plenty of different companies to choose from, each with their own pros and cons, strengths and weaknesses, so check out a few of our reviews and a few of the websites to see which one might offer you the best products and services for you, on your particular budget.