The CO alarm sounds if your sensor detects a buildup of carbon monoxide in your home—usually before you start sensing symptoms. With a low CO level (50 ppm), it may take up to eight hours for the alarm to go off. Higher carbon monoxide levels (over 150 ppm) can trigger an alarm within minutes.
Do Low Level Carbon Monoxide Detectors Detect Low Levels? Yes, they do. They detect and alarm at lower carbon monoxide levels than a typical CO alarm. A typical CO detector alarms at 70 ppm after 60 minutes.
Average levels in homes without gas stoves vary from 0.5 to 5 parts per million (ppm). Levels near properly adjusted gas stoves are often 5 to 15 ppm and those near poorly adjusted stoves may be 30 ppm or higher.
Just because there's a reading above 0 PPM doesn't mean you need to evacuate your home and call 911. In general, federal law considers any reading under 35 PPM to be safe for people exposed more than 8 hours.
OSHA Carbon Monoxide Exposure Limits
The OSHA personal exposure limit (PEL) for CO is 50 parts per million (ppm). OSHA standards prohibit worker exposure to more than 50 parts of CO gas per million parts of air averaged during an 8-hour time period.
The OSHA PEL for CO is 50 parts per million (ppm). OSHA standards prohibit worker exposure to more than 50 parts of CO gas per million parts of air averaged during an 8-hour time period. The 8-hour PEL for CO in maritime operations is also 50 ppm.
A carbon monoxide detector is a must for any home and just as important as a smoke detector. CO detectors should be placed near all bedrooms; they're the only way you will know if carbon monoxide is affecting the air quality in your home, and can help prevent serious illness and even death.
Part 1 – Test a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Locate the 'test' button on the carbon monoxide detector in your home. Push the button and listen for the siren. If the siren doesn't sound, the detector likely needs batteries. If you have a security service, it's also possible the connection to their service is disabled.
In domestic properties, your CO alarm can be triggered by any fuel burning appliance such as gas cookers, boilers and ovens. All of these appliances give off small traces of CO, but the levels can rise slightly when adequate ventilation isn't provided, or the venting is blocked or clogged by dust.
There are more than 38 million residential carbon monoxide detectors installed in the United States. We tested 30 detectors in use and found that more than half failed to function properly, alarming too early or too late.
Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Mobile App
The Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems Checklist mobile app inspects Carbon Monoxide Detection Systems using an iPad, iPhone, Android device, or a Windows desktop.
To completely flush the carbon monoxide from the body requires several hours, valuable time when additional damage can occur. Medical treatment, using oxygen or hyperbaric chambers, can reduce CO damage, speed recovery, and reduce medical problems.
If the carbon monoxide concentration in the air is much higher, signs of poisoning may occur within 1-2 hours. A very high carbon monoxide concentration can even kill an exposed individual within 5 minutes.
Carbon monoxide is in fumes (smoke) from: Car and truck engines. Small gasoline engines. Fuel-burning space heaters (not electric).
For those who survive, recovery is slow. How well a person does depends on the amount and length of exposure to the carbon monoxide. Permanent brain damage may occur. If the person still has impaired mental ability after 2 weeks, the chance of a complete recovery is worse.
As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
The most common symptoms of CO poisoning are headache, dizziness, weakness, upset stomach, vomiting, chest pain, and confusion. CO symptoms are often described as “flu-like.” If you breathe in a lot of CO it can make you pass out or kill you.
Carbon monoxide levels must build up in your home before an alarm goes off. Since an alarm measures the amount of carbon monoxide over a certain period, it could take your detector hours to go off or 10 or 20 minutes if you have a lot of gas building up in your home.
Normal values in adults are 22 to 29 mmol/L or 22 to 29 mEq/L. Higher levels of carbon dioxide may mean you have: Metabolic alkalosis, or too much bicarbonate in your blood.
There's a myth that carbon monoxide alarms should be installed lower on the wall because carbon monoxide is heavier than air. In fact, carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and diffuses evenly throughout the room.
On First Alert carbon monoxide alarms, the red light flashes to show the CO alarm is properly receiving battery power. If you do not see the red light flashing, change the batteries in the alarm immediately.
This battery characteristic can cause a smoke alarm to enter the low battery chirp mode when air temperatures drop. Most homes are the coolest between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. That's why the alarm may sound a low-battery chirp in the middle of the night, and then stop when the home warms up a few degrees.