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Old 10-07-2020, 06:52   #1
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Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

CO detectors labeled "for marine use" cost like 5 times as much as standard CO detectors at your local hardware store (like $100 vs $20 here in the US). I can't find anything on the difference between the two except that apparently the "marine use" certified detectors are tested under slightly more rigorous conditions like a rapid change in temperature (neither types are waterproof).

The difference in price is not earth shattering, but this is kind of a moral principle. I'm just kind of fed up of generators, refrigerators, etc everything being wildly more expensive simply because they are built for boats.

Is this legit, or another way to soak us for $$?
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:03   #2
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

I wasn’t aware that there was any difference, the market size makes me think they are just rebranded “Marine”
Of course that’s just a guess.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:27   #3
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

I can't say _for_sure_ that there is a difference. However, CO alarms don't just go off when the detect CO. It has to do with total exposure. So a high concentration for a short time will set it off, as will a low concentration for a long time. But a low concentration for a short time will not.

Because a boat is more confined, there very well *may* be a difference in the detection parameters.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:28   #4
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

I'm using non marine ones with the lifetime battery on my boat. They seem to do the job just fine. I do expect a potentially shortened lifespan due to the boat experiencing a wider temperature range than they're really designed for.

When I looked into it, the modern ones all seem to have similar detection parameters, although this may not always have been the case.
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Old 10-07-2020, 07:51   #5
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

In many cases items marked “marine” have a clear reason. Marine inverters have ground relay, seacocks don’t corrode in salt water (much)

But I can’t think of a reason for CO detectors being different in a recreational boat.

More importantly, home CO detectors have improved a lot in the last 10 years. The old ones lost their sensitivity after a few years and were prone to not alarming when they should. I wonder if the marine CO detectors have been updated?

And a final suggestion is that three inexpensive CO alarms in different parts of the boat is vastly safer than a single one since airflow in a boat cabin is anything but uniform.
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Old 10-07-2020, 08:02   #6
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

I'm also using non marine ones. The wired propane alarm that also detects CO is intended for an RV. The cheap lifetime battery household one in the aft cabin is mounted at prone nose height right above the engine cover. It hasn't triggered yet, even when motored for most a weekend with part of the engine cover open, producing a distinct diesel odor in there. If the marine one is more forgiving I don't know why you'd want that unless the household one was triggering, and then I'd be more worried about fixing the problem than potentially changing the alarm parameters.

Our household smoke detector is another story. That thing alarms every time we use the galley for any kind of toasting or frying, even with no visible smoke present. We just set it outside before starting to cook now, lol.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:03   #7
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

The marine ones are required by law in Minnesota. A windfall for manufacturers.


The difference is that they are less sensitive to prevent alerts in situations that aren't acutely hazardous. Home CO detectors have become less sensitive over the years, because fire departments were being called to respond in situations that were difficult to mitigate in a cost-effective manner and that didn't pose a hazard. The current standard requires that CO detectors display "0" when there is less than 20 ppm of CO.


I'm not sure what the marine standard is but it is higher. Pretty easy to trigger a 20 ppm detector with an outboard motor and a tailwind.


The tragic fatalities usually involve concentrations of hundreds of ppm.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:07   #8
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Here are the environment requirements for a First Alert battery operated carbon monoxide detector.
  • In garages, kitchens, furnace rooms, or in any extremely dusty, dirty or greasy areas.
  • Closer than 15 feet (4.6 meters) from a furnace or other fuel burning heat source, or fuel burning appliances like a water heater.
  • Within 5 feet (1.5 meters) of any cooking appliance.
  • In areas where temperature is colder than 40 ̊ F (4.4 ̊ C) or hotter than 100 ̊ F (37.8 ̊ C). These areas include non-airconditioned crawl spaces, unfinished attics, uninsulated or poorly insulated ceilings, porches, and garages.
  • In turbulent air, like near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh air returns, or open windows. Blowing air may prevent CO from reaching the sensors.
  • In direct sunlight.

Underwriters Laboratories Inc. Standard UL2034 requires residential CO Alarms to sound when exposed to levels of CO and exposure times as described below. They are measured in parts per million (ppm) of CO over time (in minutes).

UL2034 Required Alarm Points:
  • If the alarm is exposed to 400 ppm of CO, IT MUST ALARM BETWEEN 4 and 15 MINUTES.
  • If the alarm is exposed to 150 ppm of CO, IT MUST ALARM BETWEEN 10 and 50 MINUTES.
  • If the alarm is exposed to 70 ppm of CO, IT MUST ALARM BETWEEN 60 and 240 MINUTES.* Approximately 10% COHb exposure at levels of 10% to 95% Relative Humidity (RH).
  • The unit is designed not to alarm when exposed to a constant level of 30 ppm for 30 days.

These all look fine for a boat w/ a human aboard, needing a CO alert when required.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:24   #9
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Agree with wingless!!

OP, that was a great question!!.....This article (Can I use any carbon monoxide detector?) suggests marine-grade co detectors will likely mitigate the potential of getting false-positive alarms, albeit I have not experienced this myself. However, as of 2010 a carbon monoxide detector must meet the ANSI/UL 2034 standard (link below), and it should compute the time-weighted average of the CO concentration in the air. The time-weighted average measurement process constantly monitors all CO levels, eliminating most false alarms. ANSI/UL 2034 standard covers electrically operated single and multiple station carbon monoxide (CO) alarms intended for protection in ordinary indoor locations of dwelling units, including recreational vehicles, mobile homes, and recreational boats with enclosed accommodation spaces and cockpit areas per the standard. Additionally, the article goes on to say marine-grade detectors are better able to handle the harsh marine conditions, albeit for the price of a First Alert Carbon Monoxide Detector with 10-Year Battery and Digital Temperature Display, CO710, of $31 each or $60 for 3 you can afford to replace them more frequently.

The First Alert CO710 meets the ANSI/UL 2034 standard per the user's manual.

https://www.firstalertstore.com/stor...710-Manual.pdf

https://standardscatalog.ul.com/Prod...oductId=UL2034
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:42   #10
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

First Alert technical support 1-800-323-9005 Option 1, then Option 2. Obviously this is unlikely to work outside of the U.S. or North America.

I'm on hold now and assuming someone answers I will update you as soon as I can.

I did not see an e-mail address for technical support although there is one for sales. I will try that if no one answers.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:42   #11
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

I have had both marine and home CO detectors on the boat. They both seem to randomly go off the same amount
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:52   #12
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Maybe mine is bad, cause it’s only gone off when the batteries need changing.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:55   #13
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by ArmyDaveNY View Post
First Alert technical support 1-800-323-9005 Option 1, then Option 2. Obviously this is unlikely to work outside of the U.S. or North America.

I'm on hold now and assuming someone answers I will update you as soon as I can.

I did not see an e-mail address for technical support although there is one for sales. I will try that if no one answers.
Not surprisingly, there was no answer. Either they were very busy or they are not in the office due to the Wuhan virus. I sent an e-mail to the Sales@FirstAlertStore.com requesting an answer.
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Old 10-07-2020, 09:57   #14
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Every home CO detector we tried gave us false positives -all the time, especially when it was very hot out.

Looking at all the requirements it is nearly impossible to place a home detector in a smaller boat. Just the 5' from a cooking appliance is a difficult hurdle in a small boat with 10' beam with the cook stove located practically in the center of the main cabin.

We tried a number of home detectors with terrible results for false alarms and finally bit the bullet and purchased a 12v direct-wire marine unit from Xintex. Never had a lick of trouble from it with false alarms. We test it regularly. In 7 years from the datebit was first in put into service it will need to be replaced again as they have a built-in EOL timer. Then another $100 will have to be budget for a new one unfortunately.


Not something that can be found on Amazon but Worstmarine actually has a competitive price on these.
https://www.westmarine.com/buy/fireb...ctor--18023986
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Old 10-07-2020, 11:07   #15
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Re: Necessary for CO detectors to be "for marine use"?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Rohan View Post
CO detectors labeled "for marine use" cost like 5 times as much as standard CO detectors at your local hardware store (like $100 vs $20 here in the US). I can't find anything on the difference between the two except that apparently the "marine use" certified detectors are tested under slightly more rigorous conditions like a rapid change in temperature (neither types are waterproof).

The difference in price is not earth shattering, but this is kind of a moral principle. I'm just kind of fed up of generators, refrigerators, etc everything being wildly more expensive simply because they are built for boats.

Is this legit, or another way to soak us for $$?
It cost a lot to print marine use.
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