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Dangerous gas leaks like carbon monoxide are invisible and undetectable to our senses and to ordinary devices like a smoke alarm. They’re also colorless and odorless, and can cause symptoms such as memory loss, shortness of breath, even death in the most extreme cases. Having a designated detector at home is a small financial investment for something that can be life-saving in the long run.
What Are the Most Common Harmful Gas Leaks at Home?
Carbon monoxide and radon top the list. Though they’re both common and dangerous in differing ways, they each require a separate detector for the most accurate readings.
Carbon monoxide can stem from appliances like boilers, central heating systems, water heaters, cookers, and anything that uses gas, oil, coal and particularly the smoke from burning wood in a fireplace with a closed flue. It’s near impossible to know if something is emitting CO, but if an appliance has a yellowish-brown stain around it, it’s a bad sign, and all the more reason to get a good detector and call your gas company.
Propane, though less common, can be just as problematic if you’re using things like heaters and stoves that are fueled by tanks.
How Do I Detect Harmful Gas Leaks at Home?
Having a specific detector is the best, if not the only, way to be alerted if these leaks are occurring in your house. While the symptoms of carbon monoxide show up as soon as you’re exposed, radon poisoning, for instance, could take years before any signs of illness start. There’s no medical test to show if you’ve been exposed to radon, making it extra important to catch it early by installing a reliable detector.
The good news is that once you find out if there’s radon at home, it’s possible, with the help of professionals, to fix the problem and install proper ventilation.
What Are the Best Gas Leak Detectors?
These four detectors cover carbon monoxide, radon, propane, methane and smoke, and are designed to be on guard 24/7 to alert you if there’s a leak.
1. Airthings – 2930 Wave Plus – Radon & Air Quality Monitor
Airthings award-winning Wave Plus radon detector is a well-built and solid unit, ready to be wall-mounted and sniff out not only harmful radon gas, but also CO2 and other airborne chemicals that can affect health, like from paints, cleaning supplies, and even when the air is at danger for mold growth.
The Norwegian company created an extremely user-friendly interface here, with a system that shows air quality just by waving a hand in front of it (hence the name). With the accompanying app, you can also view more detailed stats on the online dashboard, and get an in-depth visual reading on your home’s air quality, as well as live and local pollen data.
This can connect up automatically to Amazon Alexa via SmartLink, or directly through Bluetooth. Monitoring is continuous, so if you do detect radon and implement a ventilation system, you’ll be able to see the levels drop in real-time.
2. Kidde AC Plug-In Carbon Monoxide and Explosive Gas Detector Alarm
This unit protects you and your family not just from carbon monoxide, but also from any leaking explosive gas like methane or propane. With a digital display that’s easy to read, and a memory that shows the highest levels that it detected, it’s also backed up with a 9V battery in case the supplying AC power goes out too. The alarm is seriously loud, about 85db, designed to wake up even the deepest sleeper and then silence it as you’re headed outside.
3. First Alert Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Detector
First Alert has been in the fire-safety field for a while now – over 60 years, creating detectors, extinguishers, and eventually carbon monoxide detectors. Now updated with AirPlay 2, this model brings CO and smoke detection into the smart era, with connection to Alexa and a speaker that can even play music. The connecting OneLink app guides you through easy installation, and interconnects with most hardwired smoke and CO alarms already in the house.
4. Cazoner Natural Gas Detector and Propane Detector
Propane leak detection usually flies under the radar with gas alarms, but Cazoner hasn’t forgotten about it with this model. Installation is as easy as plugging it in, and its small size means it doesn’t cover up other outlets either. The medical-grade polycarbonate material is flame-resistant, and stands up to oxidation over time, while the unit uses an impressively low amount of power – only .3W.