How to Read a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Carbon monoxide poisoning brings more than 20,000 Americans to the ER each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Fortunately, our electrical contractors can install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home so you’re protected against this silent killer. Carbon monoxide is odorless, colorless, and tasteless. Continue reading to learn how to understand what your carbon monoxide detector is telling you.

Hire an Electrician to Install CO Detectors

Just like smoke detectors, you’ll need carbon monoxide detectorson every level of your home and outside sleeping areas. Typically, the manufacturer will recommend you install the CO detectors near the ceiling. If you don’t feel comfortable installing CO detectors, call our electrical contractors. We’re always more than happy to help customers make their homes safer.

Carbon monoxide weighs the same as air. However, carbon monoxide is warmer than air when it leaks from fuel-burning appliances. Since heat rises, the carbon monoxide floats to the ceiling where it will be detected by your carbon monoxide alarms.

While most carbon monoxide leaks come from fuel-burning appliances, you shouldn’t install your CO detectors too close. It’s not uncommon for fuel-burning appliances to release a puff of concentrated carbon monoxide when they first switch on, which could give your CO alarm an inaccurately high reading.

Understand How CO is Measured

Carbon monoxide is measured in parts per million (PPM). This simply means that for every million parts of air, one of those parts is carbon monoxide. PPM is often used to quantify how much liquid or gas contaminant is present.

Recognize When CO Levels are Dangerous

If your CO levels creep above 35 PPM, evacuate your home and call 911. While this shouldn’t be taken as a strict guideline, it helps you understand when carbon dioxide becomes dangerous.

35 PPM – Maximum concentration allowed by federal law

200 PPM – Headaches, dizziness, or nausea after 2 -3 hours

400 PPM – Severe headaches after 1-2 hours, death after 3 hours

1,600 PPM – Death in 1 hour

10,000 PPM – Death in less than 10 minutes

Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning:

  • Dull headache
  • Dizziness or weakness
  • Flu-like symptoms
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Confusion
  • Blurry vision

If you recognize any of the above symptoms, visit your local ER as soon as possible. Signs of carbon monoxide poisoning are likely to show up first in children, the elderly, and pets. We highly encourage homeowners install carbon monoxide detectors so they can prevent illness or even death. The less carbon monoxide you breathe the better chance you’ll have of making a full recovery.

Remain Calm

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. However, this is only a guideline and not an absolute rule.

You can trust our Lowell electricians to install the best carbon monoxide detectors for your home. To learn how we can install carbon monoxide detectors in your home, call (616) 987-0596.

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carol webb
carol webb

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 year ago

Mike and his apprentice promptly took care of my electrical issue. They were professional and polite. Although they were very busy with more lucrative projects, they made time to fix my issue.They did not make me wait days although they could have. I will call them again if needed.

Philip Gerhardt
Philip Gerhardt

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 year ago

I had a car charger installed by Mike from Flat River Electric. Mike and Heather both worked to accommodate my schedule, from doing a walk through after business hours to an early project start time to minimize time off of work.

Mike was extremely friendly and professional during the process, and even remembered my home from a project he had done four years earlier. To install the new breaker and run the line, Mike went out of his way to avoid cutting into my ceiling. As a result, the room with the breaker panel looks exactly the same as it did before, and the project was finished under the quoted price.

I couldn’t be happier with the work that Flat River Electric did. Everything was done on time, under budget, and looks great. This was my second time using Flat River Electric, and I won’t hesitate to call them if I need a third.

Chris Thomas
Chris Thomas

5 out of 5 stars

posted 1 year ago

We recently used Mike and his team to replace some outlets in our home and replace all of our smoke detectors. They were in and out very quickly and did a great job. Very easy to work with. I would highly recommend them.