Why A Low Level CO Monitor Is Important In Every Home


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We’re almost half way 2013, which does not seem possible, so I thought it would be a good time to check in on my New Year’s resolutions to see how I’m doing.  How are you doing with yours? Well, I hope.

In 2012 I had a goal of losing 50 pounds and did manage to lose 40. So this year, I intend to lose the ten remaining pounds and keep myself in good physical condition. For me this means eating well, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, and spending quality time with those I love. I have to confess, though, that even with this level of self care, I still won’t meet the criteria of “healthy young adult” referred to on the warning label of every Underwriters Laboratories (UL) Listed CO Detector.

You’re probably wondering what my physical condition has to do with the warning label on a CO Detector. As it turns out, more than either you or I thought possible. You see, all UL listed CO Detectors are designed to “Only” protect a “Healthy Young Adult.”

“UL considers a healthy young adult to be between the ages of 18-22 and to be able to successfully complete any branch of the military’s basic boot camp training,” explains George Kerr, founder of CO Experts.

I don’t know about you, but while I consider myself to be in average physical shape, I’m not ready for boot camp.

Carbon monoxide (CO) is created in our homes through combustion processes such as those used to heat our homes, cook our food, create ambiance (i.e. a wood-burning fireplace), and start our cars in the garage so they’re toasty warm when we head out. We don’t always realize that these processes create a colorless, odorless, and deadly gas, which most of the time is properly expelled from our homes. But under certain conditions, CO can build up, and if it reaches high enough levels it can result in illness or even death.

Why is our physical condition a concern when it comes to CO Detectors? Because certain groups, especially pregnant women, children, seniors, or people who are ill, are at risk when exposed to chronic (more than 24 hours) lower levels of CO than the average, commonly available detectors monitor for.

UCLA Medical Center studies have shown levels of CO as low as 5 ppm can reduce fetal growth in pregnant women. Scientists have also discovered that chronic exposure to CO levels of 25 ppm or less, over time, can cause hearing loss by damaging auditory nerves.  Chronic exposure to low levels of CO have also been shown to cause oxidative stress, which is a known risk factor for Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, multiple sclerosis, Lou Gehrig’s, cardiovascular, anemia, asthma, and other respiratory diseases.

A UL Listed CO Detector must meet the following standards:

NO Audible or Visual WARNINGS, (No Digital Displays), at 30 ppm for 30 DAYS

NO Audible or Visual WARNINGS, at

  • 70 ppm ………  for 60 Minutes
  • 150 ppm …….  for 10 Minutes
  • 400 ppm …….  for  4 Minutes

MUST ALARM at:

  • 70 ppm ….. anytime between 60 and 240 Minutes, (4 hours)
  • 150 ppm … anytime between 10 and 50 Minutes
  • 400 ppm … anytime between   4 and 15 Minutes

We already know, based upon solid science, that chronic CO levels of 25 ppm or less can contribute to a variety of medical problems.

You can choose to protect yourself and your family against chronic low level CO.

A study conducted in 1998 indicated most people ignored the alarm generated by their CO Detector.  Technology has changed, and now improved sensor technology is available that can protect you and your family by giving you reliable information on the true level of CO in your home.

I recommend installing and using a high quality CO Detector, which is capable of letting us know about levels as low as 7 ppm and which will provide us with an early warning that perhaps our home isn’t healthy and safe.  There’s nothing more important than protecting the ones we love.

Ellis Guiles

Posted In: Building Performance, Customer Service, Residential Buildings

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