Sensors in Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Electrochemical sensors use a gel to detect CO. Electrochemical sensors are mainly used to detect Oxygen and toxic gas. They measure a chemical reaction within the sensor that creates an electrical output proportional to the CO level. Essentially, EC sensors are small fuel cells composed of noble metal electrodes in an electrolyte.
AlphaSense is one of the most popular manufacturers of electrochemical oxygen sensors. Their sensors are used in dozens of 4-gas detectors and portable safety meters used worldwide.
Why Do We Need to Detect CO?
Carbon Monoxide is an odorless, tasteless and generally undetectable to humans. This makes it a dangerous gas, as too much exposure can cause carbon monoxide poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when too much CO builds up in your bloodstream and your body replaces the oxygen in red blood cells with the toxic gas. Symptoms can include headaches, vomiting, dizziness, weakness, confusion, nausea, unconsciousness and even death.
The best way to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning is to install a CO gas detector in your home, workplace, auto shop, or other area where CO is likely to occur. CO is largely produced by incomplete combustion, for example when you burn any fuel such as gasoline, wood, coal and propane- something to keep in mind while grilling on your summer afternoons!
Carbon Monoxide Safety in Parts Per Million
There are several ways that CO sensors can be used to protect you. The main method that most people immediately think of are the standard carbon monoxide detectors that you find in homes, schools, and offices.
However, there are also several personal CO sensing devices that are much more effective for those who work around CO more than the average person. For example, the GasLab Plus Carbon Monoxide Detector is designed to measure carbon monoxide concentrations in a variety of applications. It features easy-to-see buttons and a large LCD screen, as well as audible and visual alarm settings. The GasLab Plus electrochemical sensing technology that assures there is no deformation from the gas in the sampling chamber.
For extra safety, GasLab offers Personal CO Safety Monitors which are wearable and rechargeable CO monitors. This device is an ideal choice for those who work in confined spaces such as garages, ice rinks and engine compartments, or anywhere else that CO buildup can occur. Benefits of this personal CO monitor include:
- Reliable electrochemical sensing technology
- Audible and visual strobe alarms
- Calibrates using ambient air
Exposure Levels of Carbon Monoxide
There are certain levels of CO concentrations that are deemed average and safe for human occupation:
- 1 parts per million (ppm) is the current average CO level on the planet
- OSHA limits long-term workplace exposure levels to 50 ppm (parts per million)
- Symptoms of mild carbon monoxide poisoning include headaches and dizziness at concentrations less than 100 ppm
- Concentrations as low as 700 ppm can be life-threatening
It is important to keep in mind the affects vary depending on several factors. The concentration of CO, time of exposure, age, gender, and overall health affect the danger level. Take for example this instance from the University of Iowa; a concentration of 400ppm will cause headaches in 1 to 2 hours. In 3 to 5 hours the same concentration can lead to unconsciousness and death. Accompanying increase in respiration rate can shorten the time to critical levels.
GasLab is available to assist you! Please call us at (386) 872-7668 to speak to an expert or visit us online at GasLab.com to find out how we can provide you with an affordable, reliable carbon monoxide safety monitors for your home, school, or workplace!