Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, but deadly gas, especially in cold weather when windows are shut.
Last year, a Cincinnati couple in Madisonville was found dead, after they accidentally left their car running in the garage.
In 2015, a Pleasant Ridge man died from CO fumes from a generator running in a garage. So a working detector is essential.
Avoid these detectors
In Consumer Reports’ most recent tests of carbon monoxide alarms, three similar-looking off-brand alarms - the Foho YJ-806, the GoChange 882 LCD and the NetBoat WB_H3110061 --sold on Amazon and eBay--failed critical performance tests and have been labeled Don’t Buy: Safety Risk.
CO alarms are designed to sound before the level of carbon monoxide in a person's bloodstream would reach a dangerous level. CR tests each carbon monoxide alarm at two CO levels.
First testing at 100 parts per million, where the alarm should sound after about 40 minutes, then at 400 parts per million, when the alarm should sound between 4 and 15 minutes. All three alarms failed some aspect of Consumer Reports testing -- either for going off too quickly, or not at all.
The three failed alarms do not have a UL certification, a mark given to all CO alarms that meet a voluntary industry safety standard.
What you can do
If you already own one of the Foho, GoChange, or NetBoat carbon monoxide alarms, Consumer Reports advises that you stop using them, and replace them with one of their recommended CO alarms that do meet the UL certifications, such as the top-rated First Alert CO615, a standalone alarm, or the First Alert OneLink SCO501CN, an interconnected alarm that syncs with multiple alarms in your home.
After being contacted by Consumer Reports, Amazon said the two products that failed the tests were no longer available for sale, and that they’d also removed similar-looking models CR pointed out that did not list a UL certification. Amazon also said it work with consumers who may have purchased these alarms under the terms of its return policy.
eBay responded that based on CR’s report, they had removed the specific carbon monoxide alarm listing from the seller and requested the seller contact any buyers who may have purchased these alarms.
As always, don't waste your money.
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