So you have a carbon monoxide detector or several in your home, and you think you are protected? You could be exposed to low-level carbon monoxide in your home and not even know it!
How carbon monoxide detectors work
These units are typically a time-weighted alarm. They measure the buildup of carbon monoxide in the home. So depending on the level and time is when the machine will give off an alarm. Here is a few comparisons on when they will go off.
Carbon monoxide levels at…
40 ppm the alarm goes off after 10 hours
50 ppm 8 hours
70 ppm 1-4 hours
400 ppm 4-15 mins
These numbers were taken from the kiddie.com website.
Health effects and symptoms to exposure…
Here some levels to give you general idea compiled from multiple internet sources.
0 ppm – Fresh air
9 ppm – Maximum indoor level recommended
10-24 ppm – Possible health effects with long-term exposure
100 ppm – A headache after 1-2 hours
200 ppm – Dizziness, nausea, fatigue, headache
400 ppm – Life threatening in 3 hours
800 ppm – Death within 2-3 hours unconsciousness after 1 hour
So what about levels under 40 ppm?
The fact is most detectors will never go off!
Some detectors that have a digital display you can push a button that will display the last highest level detected. These typically will register to 10 ppm. Even if they detect a low level does not mean the alarm will ever go off! The scary thing is there are a lot of studies out there that low-level carbon monoxide of long periods of time can have health risks.
Harvard Health published an article that explains about carbon monoxide poisoning and also low-level exposure and the health risks associated with it. You can learn more with this article.
The point of this article is to get a Low-level carbon monoxide detector!
If you are having any reading above 1 0r 2 on your home most likely you have a problem with a heating appliance and this should be fixed before low-level exposure or a serious problem with the appliance.
They do cost more but your health is worth it!