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CO detector reccomendations

Post in 'The Hearth Room - Wood Stoves and Fireplaces' started by maverick06, Oct 8, 2012.

  1. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2008
    Messages:
    724
    Loc:
    media, pa
    Well, my CO detector went off today. The beeping matched the frequency that let me know it was just too old and needed replacement. (It was listed as a 7 year detector, died at 6 and a half). Time to get a new one.

    What recommendations do you guys have? (Specifically looking for Firefighter Jake here). I already have the smoke detectors thoroughly covered, so i am not too concerned with a dual unit. battery is easier, plug in is ok too. Digital readout important?

    Thoughts?

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  2. madison

    madison Minister of Fire

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    41.33°N 74.18°W and 44.67°N 111.0°W
    Sorta off topic, FYI there was a recent news show regarding ionization fire detectors not always working in smoldering fires - and that there are newer models that have both ionization and photoelectric sensors.

    Our CO detector is a "Nighthawk", which works fine, I test it each yr, has a LED ppm readout, it sensed low levels (below alarm threshold) in our furnace room when the furnace chimney was partially obstructed with a dead mallard. The Nighthawk had a 9 volt backup battery.

    We bought two more for each floor of the home. And leave the third in the furnace room.
  3. slindo

    slindo Member

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    Mar 14, 2008
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    Loc:
    Maine
    Get one not sold for household use, like the aviation etc version sold by CO Experts or other vendors. The household ones are BY LAW "detuned" so they will not respond to low levels of CO. Apparently fire depts were afraid if detectors able to read low levels of CO became common the FDs would be deluged with calls from people wanting to know what to do about it. CO detector used for aviation and industrial purposes don't have this restriction. Since very low levels of CO can be harmful over extended exposures, I'd rather be able to decide for myself what I consider dangerous rather than having the gov do it for me.

    Oh, if you buy a home one be sure it has a real sensor. There are some pretty mickey mouse ones around at the low end of the market. One (not sure if they are still selling it) actually has just one of those change a color dot CO detectors elements inside, with a light meter that reads the color and sets off the buzzer should it get too dark!
  4. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    No specific brands . . . biggest thing is that it is built to UL or FM specs. A lot of firefighters are partial to Nighthawks with their digital read out -- since the home owner may be able to tell them that the detector was going off at X parts per million which may help them in determining the cause of the alarm along with other questions they may ask. In my own home I think I have a BRK/First Alert brand . . . plug in model . . . a fair unit . . . no bells and whistles, but it does the job.

    Plug in or battery . . . to me it doesn't matter how the unit is powered . . . as long as it is powered . . . for some folks having a battery or battery back-up is useful since many folks end up with CO poisoning when the power is out . . . as this is when they're firing up the gasoline powered generator . . . inside their basement or in their attached garage . . . or they're dusting off the old kerosene heater that was last used in 1978.

    As noted . . it's worth checking out how long the detector is good for until it gets replaced.
  5. firefighterjake

    firefighterjake Minister of Fire

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    Unity/Bangor, Maine
    The ionization detectors and their speed in detecting certain types of smoke is actually pretty well known . . . at least one professor from Texas has been going on a rant about them and how there is a great conspiracy of the smoke detector manufacturers for years.

    Most studies I've seen said both ion and photo-electrics will go off relatively soon to each other (the dual keys here being how "soon" is too late and what is on fire in the home) . . . but many of the same studies also say for the fastest and safest response it is wise to go with dual units or have some of both types in the home. Going with just one type -- whether ionization or PE -- to me does not make a lot of sense.

    When folks ask me about these studies I can only tell them that I have met and know many folks who are alive today thanks to smoke detectors . . . in homes with just ionization detectors, homes with just PE detectors and homes with a combination of the two. What I see far more often sadly is not people dying in homes with only one type of detector . . . they're dying in homes without any working smoke detector -- whether that be because there are no detectors in the home at all . . . or detectors that are unplugged or have batteries that have been yanked due to false alarms, low battery alarms, etc.

    I then go on to tell folks that I study safety for a living . . . and what I have done in my own home to maximize my chances of surviving a fire or CO incident is to put a combination of PEs and Ions throughout my home in the recommended locations to reduce false alarms and maximize a fast response . . . and in some cases I have exceeded the number of smokes and CO detectors . . . although it is entirely possible to go overboard and put them in too many places in the home . . . which can lead to false alarms . . . which can lead to apathy.
  6. maverick06

    maverick06 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    media, pa
    Thanks much for the information Jake! I value your input on it. Will be ordering something today.

    Doing what i can to make sure that my house doesnt turn into the USS Miami! (thats a sad news story to read).
  7. Hanko

    Hanko Minister of Fire

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    795
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    livingstion co, Michigan
    Firex makes a very good combo unit that talks to you. it senses smoke and carbon monixide. If y ou have hard wired interconnected smoke detectors in your home, these can be a direct replacement for exisitng smokes.
  8. granpajohn

    granpajohn Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2007
    Messages:
    653
    Loc:
    Central Maryland
    I visited this thread because just yesterday I tried to reinstall my CO detector.
    It is the Kidde Nighthawk.
    After some internet searching, I've determined that it has turned itself off (by design) and must be replaced. As one commentor noted: "great business model".
    Anyway; I also found that I am not the only one who had battery problems with the Nighthawk. As long as it had main power, it was OK, but within the first 12 hours of a power outage, it starts it (very annoying) low battery beep. IOW, it eats 9v batteries. Has to be physically disabled whenever power is out. They say there was a free replacement for a while.

    Not sure what to replace it with. Just started looking in to it. Thought it may help someone else.

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