Test your smoke alarm!

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  • Slik Geek
    replied
    On the dangers of CO...

    A coworker drove to work one cold winter morning, not knowing the vehicle exhaust had a leak that somehow resulted in significant CO into the vehicle cabin. When she arrived at work, she complained that she wasn't feeling well (I can't remember the specific symptoms). Minutes later, despite being in fresh air now, she collapsed and had a seizure. She came out okay, after an ambulance trip to the hospital, but it was a scary reminder of the power of CO - even after escaping to fresh air.

    A single mom I knew, a few decades ago, with three kids (9 - 15 years old) were exhibiting flu-like symptoms, overall feeling poorly. They suffered with it for a couple days, and somehow discovered that their furnace heat exchanger had failed and was allowing CO to permeate the house (perhaps because they went to grandmas so she could help care for them and then quickly felt better??) The story could have ended with them all dying and being found the next day when they didn't respond.

    A guy I know started feeling sick at work, as did coworkers. They discovered the propane-fueled forklift wasn't operating properly and was poisoning them with CO.

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  • LCHIEN
    replied
    Lowes had no recycle bin for smoke detectors but did have a bin for devices with lithium batteries so i dropped it in there.

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  • Gbotha
    replied
    My kitchen 10 year alarm keeps going off for no reason. After 1 year. so I swapped it with another from bedroom. 1 year later THAT one starts going off. Research blames the a/c floor vent, just below it. Since I closed the vent, no problem.

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  • LCHIEN
    replied
    I bought 2 new alarms, dual sensor, with 10 year battery so I should be set until I'm 79 Y.O.

    I have the two old ones, 11 years old that are apparently still operating but the sensors are expired.

    They have a break tab and switch on the back that is a permanent disable for the unit so that after being removed from service the EOL beep alarm won't try to go off.

    I was just thinking, I could send these for recycling (I think the local hardware retail giants have bins for that) and pictured a facility with boxes of hundreds of these stacked up for recycling.
    If I did not disable it, they could be looking at bins with 100's of these things, many of them beeping!

    That would drive you nuts.

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  • LCHIEN
    commented on 's reply
    At the same temperatures CO is just slightly lighter than air, not air is lighter than CO as you stated.

    The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
    Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online

  • LCHIEN
    replied

    As CO levels increase and remain above 70 ppm, symptoms become more noticeable and can include headache, fatigue and nausea. At sustained CO concentrations above 150 to 200 ppm, disorientation, unconsciousness, and death are possible.
    Carbon-Monoxide-Questions-and-Answers | CPSC.gov


    The lowest lethal concentration (inhalation) for humans is 100 000 ppm (=10%) for 1 min. Carbon dioxide concentrations of 20–30% can cause convulsions and coma within a minute. Unconsciousness may occur when inhaling a concentration of 12% for 8–23 min.
    Lethal Concentration - an overview | ScienceDirect Topics


    So you see folks, Carbon monoxide is lethal at levels 1000th as much as carbon dioxide. 100,000 ppm is 10%. 20% is 200,000 ppm. Oxygen is normally 21% of air.
    Carbon monoxide is a byproduct of incomplete combustion of carbon; Carbon dioxide is the normal byproduct of combustion of carbon bearing materials.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 10-07-2021, 02:22 AM.

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  • Black walnut
    replied
    Originally posted by nicer20 View Post


    As a side note - I am concerned about these combo smoke/CO detectors. In my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong to combine these two functions in a single unit. These units get typically mounted on Ceiling.

    Smoke is lighter than air so it rises and accumulates near ceiling so it is correct to have Smoke alarms on ceiling. BUT CO is heavier than air. So CO starts accumulating near the floor. We would be dead long before the CO rises to the ceiling level and triggers alarm. So CO alarm should be closer to the ground - lower level than our beds as that's possibly when our noses are closer to ground.

    My $0.02

    - NG
    CO is :
    • 1.250 kg/m3 at 0 C, 1 atm
    • 1.145 kg/m3 at 25 C, 1 atm
    CO2 is:
    • 1101 kg/m3 (liquid at saturation −37 C (−35 F))
    • 1.977 kg/m3 (gas at 1 atm
    air is "At 20 C and 101.325 kPa, dry air has a density of 1.2041 kg/m3."
    all three from wikipedia

    https://www.homedepot.com/b/Electric...co2%20detector

    lists a bunch of CO and smoke detectors, combination units. It seems that air is lighter than both CO and CO2 but CO2 has a huge density difference being much heavier than air. Loring is correct. Strange though my search query at the Borg was for CO2 detectors and it gave me a bunch of CO detectors. I can see good reasons to have CO2 detectors below bed height.

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  • capncarl
    replied
    The CO incident that I described above startled my wife and I enough that I purchased a CO detector to carry with us when we went overnight on other peoples boats. My boat had a smoke / CO detector and a CO detector mounted at floor level between the 2 bunks.

    Leave a comment:


  • LCHIEN
    replied
    Originally posted by nicer20 View Post

    Quite scary.

    The film I mentioned above whichI had watched showed similar scenario. A vulture sits on a carcass - as it dips its head down to get a bite, it breathes the poisonous air accumulated near the ground in those morning cold hours. Feeling uncomfortable it raises its head and breathes normally. Unaware of the situation it tries again and again to grab bites and succumbs to death. It is a very eye opening footage. I will see if I can locate it on Youtube or any other resource.

    For some reason I registered it as CO - Now that might have been CO2 layer and not CO layer as Loring explained.

    - NG
    I didn't watch it but you mentioned Killer and Nat'l Geo.
    probably this
    https://www.vexplode.com/en/national...al-geographic/
    talks about Killer Lakes that emit CO2
    CO2 being relatively a lot more dense pools in low areas. and enclosed areas suffocating the unwary. Not really poison but asphxiation.
    CO latches to your blood's oxygen receptors and denies them oxygen. So it is a poison.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-23-2021, 07:52 PM.

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  • nicer20
    replied
    Originally posted by capncarl View Post
    CO is not something you want to mess around with. Back in our houseboat and cruiser days a good friend and his wife took their houseboat to their favorite anchor out spot. He dropped anchor and went to the stern and found the jet ski’s tow ropes tangled in the outdrives. He laid on his belly and was reaching over the back of the boat to untangle the rope, his wife was curious what he was doing laying down and went to see what was happening and stepped out on the back deck just in time to catch him by his ankle as he was sliding into the water. Their generator exhaust had accumulated CO behind the boat and he had his head low enough to breath in enough to knock him out. Pretty serious stuff.
    Quite scary.

    The film I mentioned above whichI had watched showed similar scenario. A vulture sits on a carcass - as it dips its head down to get a bite, it breathes the poisonous air accumulated near the ground in those morning cold hours. Feeling uncomfortable it raises its head and breathes normally. Unaware of the situation it tries again and again to grab bites and succumbs to death. It is a very eye opening footage. I will see if I can locate it on Youtube or any other resource.

    For some reason I registered it as CO - Now that might have been CO2 layer and not CO layer as Loring explained.

    - NG

    Leave a comment:


  • capncarl
    replied
    CO is not something you want to mess around with. Back in our houseboat and cruiser days a good friend and his wife took their houseboat to their favorite anchor out spot. He dropped anchor and went to the stern and found the jet ski’s tow ropes tangled in the outdrives. He laid on his belly and was reaching over the back of the boat to untangle the rope, his wife was curious what he was doing laying down and went to see what was happening and stepped out on the back deck just in time to catch him by his ankle as he was sliding into the water. Their generator exhaust had accumulated CO behind the boat and he had his head low enough to breath in enough to knock him out. Pretty serious stuff.

    Leave a comment:


  • Jim Frye
    replied
    When we built our new home, the CO and smoke detectors installed are hard wired for power and have battery backups. They also self test every few minutes. I have a spread sheet that tracks all battery powered security devices in the home, as well as clocks, etc., so I can see installation, battery change, and projected replacement dates. Our security system is wireless, so there are lots of batteries to keep track of.

    Leave a comment:


  • LCHIEN
    commented on 's reply
    At standard temperature and pressure, the density of carbon dioxide is around 1.98 kg/m3, about 1.53 times that of air.

    Carbon dioxide - Wikipedia


    CO2 is much, Much denser. and easily displaces air in closed rooms.

    https://www.vexplode.com/en/national...al-geographic/
    talks about Killer Lakes that emit CO2

    CO2 kills because it is heavy and in closed rooms settles to the bottom and efficiently displaces oxygen bearing air. When you breathe large percentage CO2 you suffocate from lack of oxygen in your breath.

    CO kills because it preferentially attaches to your red blood cells using the same chemical valence bonds as Oxygen. So in small concentrations it can quickly replace all your oxygen in your blood. Even though it is mixed with air.
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-23-2021, 02:05 AM.

  • nicer20
    replied
    Originally posted by LCHIEN View Post

    Nicer, maybe you are confusing CO2 and CO.

    While CO2 is denser than air and sinks, CO is very slightly lighter than air and will rise in a still room or likely mix with any air movement.
    The alarms check for CO which is carbon monoxide.


    The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
    Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online
    OK then may be I am wrong and stand corrected. I had watched this film on CO (by National Geographic or Discovery Channel may be) several years ago - I think something like a "Silent Killer" and it showed this very deadly scenario of how dense CO was causing animals to die. May be I got it wrong then.

    Thanks for the scientific data.

    NG

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  • LCHIEN
    replied
    Originally posted by nicer20 View Post

    ...

    As a side note - I am concerned about these combo smoke/CO detectors. In my opinion, it is fundamentally wrong to combine these two functions in a single unit. These units get typically mounted on Ceiling.

    Smoke is lighter than air so it rises and accumulates near ceiling so it is correct to have Smoke alarms on ceiling. BUT CO is heavier than air. So CO starts accumulating near the floor. We would be dead long before the CO rises to the ceiling level and triggers alarm. So CO alarm should be closer to the ground - lower level than our beds as that's possibly when our noses are closer to ground.

    My $0.02

    - NG
    Nicer, maybe you are confusing CO2 and CO.

    While CO2 is denser than air and sinks, CO is very slightly lighter than air and will rise in a still room or likely mix with any air movement.
    The alarms check for CO which is carbon monoxide.


    The density of Carbon Monoxide at 20 C (68 C) is 0.96716 which is slightly lighter than the density of air (1.00).
    Gas Awareness: S-Tech Online
    Last edited by LCHIEN; 09-22-2021, 11:11 PM.

    Leave a comment:

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