The best way to prevent carbon monoxide incidents is, of course, to make sure combustion appliances are working properly. But should things go wrong, a reliable warning system such as the carbon monoxide detector can be vital. CO detectors monitor the concentration of carbon monoxide in the air and sound an alarm if it exceeds a certain threshold for a certain time.
Safe and trustworthy
Carbon monoxide detectors are complex devices produced by many manufacturers in a variety of qualities. Because such a detector can literally be a matter of life or death, it is crucial the device meets relevant quality standards. The EN 50291-1 is such a standard. It describes test methods and performance requirements for CO detectors intended for residential use. The EN 50291-2 contains comparable requirements for CO detectors for caravans/campers and boats. Certification against these standards is not required at this time, but it helps to ensure a device is safe and reliable, helping you as a manufacturer to stand out from your competition.
The functioning and reliability of a CO detector depends to a large extent on the build quality and the components used. Carbon monoxide detector manufacturers who want to provide reliable products that meet current quality standards can have their detectors tested in a specialised laboratory. Kiwa's Fire Safety and Security Products lab in Apeldoorn is an EN ISO/IEC 17025-accredited laboratory where CO detectors can be assessed on the basis of, among other, the EN 50291 standard.
Extensive test program
The comprehensive EN 50291 test program consists of several tests that must be performed on multiple samples to give results that are representative of an entire product range. In addition, some tests are more or less destructive to the sample. That is why manufacturers usually supply Kiwa about fifteen samples of the same product.
Speed of gas test
Once the samples arrive at the lab, Kiwa's testing experts determine the type of CO detector and operating requirements. After that, the test program starts, testing the detector's construction, components and power supply. In a specially designed climate chamber, the sensitivity of the sensor to the different CO concentrations is tested, under different climatic conditions (e.g. humidity, temperature). Kiwa's lab has a special set-up for performing speed of gas tests, in which CO detectors can be tested under different gas velocities and with different sensor orientations.