Ron Nelson is the director of technical services for Mutual Central Alarm Services Inc., New York. He has more than 36 years’ experience in the security industry and can be reached at sdmtechtips@bnpmedia.com.
  1. Carbon monoxide detectors always should be mounted directly above heating furnaces.
    a. True
    b. False

  2. Which UL standard covers single- and multiple-station carbon monoxide alarms?
    a. 681
    b. 720
    c. 827
    d. 2034

  3. Which NFPA standard covers installation of carbon monoxide warning equipment in dwelling units?
    a. 681
    b. 720
    c. 827
    d. 2034

  4. Which of the following gases is heavier than air?
    a. Hydrogen
    b. Natural gas
    c. Propane
    d. All of the above

  5. Carbon monoxide is much heaver than air.
    a. True
    b. False

  6. Which type of detectors should be installed in server rooms?
    a. Water
    b. Temperature
    c. Smoke
    d. All of the above
    e. None of the above

  7. Art galleries and antique stores are good applications for humidity detectors.
    a. True
    b. False

  8. Natural gas and propane detectors are identical in design.
    a. True
    b. False

  9. Which of the following is the most important factor in selecting the location for a gas detector?
    a. Ease of wire run
    b. Characteristics of the gas
    c. Size of unit
    d. Aesthetics

  10. When a carbon monoxide detector activates, you should leave the area immediately.
    a. True
    b. False

  11. What is a symptom of carbon monoxide poisoning?
    a. Dizziness
    b. Drowsiness
    c. Fatigue
    d. Headache
    e. All of the above

  12. You should test carbon monoxide detectors by using canned smoke.
    a. True
    b. False

  13. You can use a butane lighter to test natural and propane gas detectors.
    a. True
    b. False

  14. The installation of carbon monoxide detectors is never required by code.
    a. True
    b. False

  15. Which of the following is a potential source of carbon monoxide?
    a. Gas stoves
    b. Oil/gas furnaces
    c. Internal combustion engines
    d. Fireplaces
    e. All of the above


What’s Wrong with This?

Wally `Larman was asked to add a carbon monoxide detector to one of his existing residential systems. He selected an appropriate detector, and because it should be monitored 24/7, he connected it to the existing smoke detector zone as shown in this diagram. He tested the system, and although it worked, his customer and monitoring station were not satisfied. Can you see what Wally did wrong and what he must do to correct the problem?

5-Minute Tech Quiz Answers

  1. b — Although heating furnaces are a potential source of carbon monoxide, you should not install a CO detector directly above them, because that can cause excessive false alarms.

  2. d

  3. b

  4. c

  5. b — Carbon monoxide is similar to air in density.

  6. d – Because servers are susceptible to damage caused by water, heat and fire, it is a good idea to install detectors in a server room for each. Humidity detectors also are a good idea, because excessive humidity can cause problems for computers.

  7. a — Humidity can cause serious problems to paintings, books, wood furniture and many other types of art and antiques.

  8. a – Although the same type of detector can be used for both gases, the mounting locations are different due to the characteristics of the gases.

  9. b

  10. a — This is very important, because exposure to excessive amounts of CO can cause disorientation and drowsiness.

  11. e — The symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning often are described as flu-like.

  12. b

  13. a — The gas used in standard butane lighters can be used to test natural and propane gas detectors. Be careful not to light the lighter when using it to test devices.

  14. b

  15. e


Answer to: What's Wrong with This?

Wally’s problem is caused by connecting the carbon monoxide detector to a smoke detector zone. This prevents the customer and the monitoring office from knowing whether a fire has been detected or excessive levels of CO have occurred. This is very important, because the response to these events is not the same. Wally should rewire the new carbon monoxide detector so that it is connected to its own 24-hour zone of the control panel and advise the monitoring office which zone he used. It is important to remember that you should never mix detector types, such as smoke and gas, on a single zone, even though they are both 24-hour devices. Keeping each type on separate zones provides valuable information in the event of an activation.