How Carbon Monoxide Detectors Work

Here at Pearson Sweep, we have made it our mission to ensure that every chimney using home is aware of the risk and danger of carbon monoxide (CO). After all, this highly toxic gas is not only difficult to detect, it can be deadly if it is not found early. The most effective way to alert a homeowner to the presence of CO is to install a high-quality detector that is regularly serviced in order to ensure that it is in good condition. Read on as the Pearson Sweep team go over how they work…

What is CO?

Created due to the incomplete combustion of carbon-based fuels, carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous poisonous gases around. After all, it is odourless, colourless and tasteless which means that it is very difficult to detect without a functioning and regularly serviced CO detector in place.

How CO Detectors Work?

There are two basic types of carbon monoxide detectors available: detector strips, that use chemicals in order to detect the presence of CO, and electronic alarms, that are connected to a power outlet or powered by batteries. Here is how they work:

Detector Strips: These are pieces of plastic that have a brown coloured circle in the centre which work by changing colour when the presence of carbon monoxide is detected. This is because the brown ‘blob’ is actually a silica gel with a catalyst in it and when CO touches it, a chemical reaction takes place as the chemical salts are oxidised and turned into carbon dioxide, ultimately changing the colour of the silica gel.

Electronic Alarms: Interestingly, there are several different types of electric carbon monoxide detector to choose from. For example, colorimetric ones have a chemical blob inside just like the detector strips and use reflected light in order to detect the presences of carbon monoxide, whereas metal-oxide detectors have sensors made from a metal oxide such as tin or platinum. If carbon monoxide is detected, the carbon monoxide will actually steal the oxygen from the metal oxide which converts the CO into another gas known as carbon dioxide. This also turns the metal oxide into a pure metal and generates heat as a by-product. The alarm is triggered when an electric circuit notices that the temperature inside the chamber has increased, suggesting the presence of CO.

It is no secret that carbon monoxide is one of the most dangerous gases that comes about from burning carbon-based fuels like coal and wood. Luckily, regular chimney sweeping can ensure that your property is able to vent the toxic gases out of your home and into the atmosphere, leaving you with clean air to breathe. To find out more information, get in contact with the best chimney sweep Manchester has to offer and speak to a member of the Pearson Sweep team today!

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