Low Level Carbon Monoxide – Did you know?

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 time-weighted alarms.  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 are 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! 

For 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 for long periods of time can have health risks.

Harvard Health published an article that explains 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 or 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!

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