Carbon monoxide alarms in a home can mean the difference between life and death. When consumers buy one, they trust the manufacturers that the product works. However, Consumer Reports found three carbon monoxide alarms that performed poorly on their tests. As a result, the consumer watchdog gave these alarms a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” rating.
Carbon Monoxide: A Silent Killer
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odorless gas that comes from burning fuel. This can be from car engines, stoves, fireplaces or furnaces. Sometimes, this gas can build up from leaks in the home or problems with a car. Breathing in too much of this gas can cause serious illness or death for people and animals.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 400 Americans die from accidental carbon monoxide poisoning. Also, more than 200,000 people visit the emergency room and more than 4,000 require hospitalization from the gas.
Symptoms for carbon monoxide poisoning include “flu-like” symptoms such as headaches, weakness, nausea/vomiting, chest pain and dizziness.
This is why having a working carbon monoxide detector in the home is so important. It can save your life.
Experts Flunk Three Carbon Monoxide Alarms
Consumer Reports tests a variety of carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they work properly. Based on their most recent tests, three products didn’t make the grade and received a “Don’t Buy: Safety Risk” rating.
- The GoChange 882 LCD Portable Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Monitor Alarm (found on eBay). This alarm failed to sound when exposed to the lowest threshold of dangerous expose: 100 parts per million. According to Consumer Reports, at this level an alarm should go off within 40 and 165 minutes of exposure. In addition, the GoChange failed at the 400 parts per million test. Alarms should sound within four to 15 minutes of exposure at this level. However, this alarm didn’t sound at all during this test.
- The NetBoat WB_H3110061 LCD Portable Security Gas CO Carbon Poisoning Monitor (found on Amazon). This alarm also failed the 100 parts per million test; it didn’t go off at all. On the flip side, at the higher concentration levels, the Netboat alarm sounded after only 30 seconds. Why is this a problem? “Models that alarm too quickly make it more likely that a consumer would remove the batteries or disconnect the alarm to stop nuisance alarms,” says Bernie Deitrick, Consumer Reports test engineer. “That can leave people unprotected in dangerous situations.”
- Foho YJ-806 LCD Portable Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Monitor Alarm (found on Amazon). This alarm sounded too quickly at both test levels, according to Consumer Reports—15 minutes at the lowest level and 90 seconds at the higher level.
Experts Warn Sellers About Product
Consumer Reports notified both Amazon and eBay about the defective alarms. Both companies pulled the products from their sites and said they would help buyers get refunds.
However, experts warn these alarms can be sold on other websites. Anyone looking to buy one should check for a proper testing logo. Consumer Reports recommends looking for the UL label or another lab that “conforms to UL standards.”