Portable Carbon Monoxide Detector

portable carbon monoxide detector

A portable carbon monoxide detector is a vital piece of safety equipment for travelers, whether they’re staying in hotels or camping out in tents. This odorless and tasteless gas can leak from poorly vented or malfunctioning fuel-burning appliances, such as stoves, furnaces, fireplaces, heaters, or generators. Carbon monoxide poisoning can cause headache, dizziness, weakness, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, and even loss of consciousness.

The simplest travel CO detectors use electrochemical sensors with electrodes submerged in an electrically conductive solution (called an electrolyte). When carbon monoxide enters the gas-permeable sensor, it increases the current passing through the electrodes, causing a light to illuminate or a sound to sound. More advanced models use metal oxide sensors instead of electrochemical cells and incorporate circuitry that can detect carbon monoxide based on its chemical properties. Some models display the CO concentration in parts per million (ppm) on a digital screen and have a button for weekly testing and a peak level indicator that shows the highest reading detected over a certain period of time.

On-the-Go Safety: The Advantages of Portable Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This small, budget-friendly model from First Alert is a plug-in device with battery backup that’s easy to take on trips and flights. It comes pre-calibrated and has an 85-decibel alarm that sounds when it detects a dangerously high amount of carbon monoxide. It also has a digital display that shows real-time CO levels in ppm and battery level, a test/silence button for weekly testing, and a peak level button that displays the highest CO reading from memory.

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