A Guide to Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas that is unavoidable. It is produced by burning a number of carbon-based fuels like natural gas, propane, coal, wood, kerosene, gasoline, and heating oil.In a home that is properly built and maintained, these toxic gasses are vented outside. But this gas can become dangerous if it accumulates.

As many as 500 Americans will die every year from carbon monoxide inhalation, and around 15,000 are hospitalized with symptoms that are related to CO exposure.

Luckily, there are many carbon monoxide detectors available to you. They warn you when carbon monoxide levels become too high. They are equipped with sensors that detect the odorless and colorless gas.

Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The basic carbon monoxide detector usually costs anywhere from $20 to $40. You want to find a model with a digital display that will tell you the level of CO at all times.

CO detectors can be battery-operated or designed to plug into an electrical outlet. They may also be designed to be hard-wired to an electrical box that is part of your home’s electrical system.


Before you purchase a CO detector, figure out if your house requires a specific type of CO alarm like hard-wired. You’ll also want to be sure that the detector meets Underwriters Laboratories Standard 2034. If you do purchase a battery-operated detector, make sure you stick to the suggested schedule for battery replacements.

There are also combination detectors that monitor smoke levels and CO levels simultaneously. These are becoming more and more popular. They are available as CO and photoelectric alarms and also CO and ionization alarms. If you buy one of these combination alarms, you will have fewer alarms to deal with.

There are also new combination alarms that connect to Wi-Fi and alert you via phone if they go off or if the batteries are low. When you get the alert, you will be notified if the problem is smoke or carbon monoxide.

There are also CO detectors that are meant to be integrated with your home security system. The detector can then be heard both inside and outside the house, and the central monitoring station will receive a signal as well. Then the proper authorities will call you on your cell phone.

The Best Location for a Carbon Monoxide Detector

If your home is a small, one-level home, one CO detector will suffice. If you have a larger home, consider placing one CO detector on each level.

Find a central location within sleeping areas and other living spaces. Do not put the alarm in a garage or places where the CO levels will be higher due to car exhaust. And try not to put them near open doors or windows as the fresh air may cause inaccurate readings.

Carbon monoxide can be one of the most dangerous gasses. Fortunately, a carbon monoxide detector will help you to stay alert about how much CO is in your home.


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