Where Should You Install Your Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Where Should You Install Your Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Written By

Daniel Newman

Without a doubt, a carbon monoxide detector is one of the most important fixtures in your home. The risks of not owning a carbon monoxide detector are serious, due to the threatening nature of carbon monoxide. Often referred to as the invisible killer, carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless and poisonous gas, presenting a very real threat to your family and their safety.

Typically, the gas is a by-product of a malfunctioning heating system or a leaking appliance, but regardless of how it enters your home, high concentrations can cause serious harm. However, even if you understand the necessity of installing a detector, you may find yourself asking: Where’s the best location for it?

Check out these critical facts before you place your detector, so you fully understand the best spots for maximum protection.

Recognizing the dangers of carbon monoxide

A small amount of carbon monoxide is in the air already, so detectors will only sound an alarm if the concentration reaches high enough to cause ill effects on your health. Carbon monoxide poisoning leads to flu-like symptoms, including nausea, confusion, dizziness and headaches. In high doses, it can even lead to neurological disorders and death.

The simple act of installing a detector in your home alleviates these concerns, as they’re designed to signal loudly in the presence of carbon monoxide.

Gas flame.

Identifying the ideal location

Carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air, and a common misconception is that you should install detectors close to the ground. When detectors are located closer to the floor, it’s usually because they plug into an outlet. You can actually place them at any height!

Owning one detector isn’t enough if you live in a large home. As part of your encompassing home security system, you should consider installing a detector on every floor. In particular, the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL) recommended placing one in or near your bedroom, and having detectors near sleeping areas is mandatory in many areas.

While you may recognize the signs of carbon monoxide poisoning and hear an alarm buzz while awake, you’re less likely to notice such signs when asleep. Installing a detector near your bedroom ensures you’ll hear the alarm, even in the middle of a deep sleep.

You should avoid installing detectors near appliances that emit low levels of carbon monoxide, such as dryers, ovens or heaters. If they start up, they may cause a false alarm. A good rule of thumb is to avoid placing a detector within 15 feet of a fuel-burning appliance or a humid area, such as a bathroom.

Installation locations also vary by manufacturer. Make sure to read all applicable instructions, and follow the manufacturer’s recommendations regarding the placement of your detector.

Laundry room.

Keeping your family safe

When deciding on the best spot for your carbon monoxide detector, remember these important factors:

  • You don’t need to install your detector near the floor, but you should install one on every floor of your home, especially near sleeping areas.
  • Carbon monoxide is tasteless, colorless and odorless; the only way to detect dangerous levels of the gas is with a detector.
  • You should replace carbon monoxide detectors every five years. Check with your manufacturer to determine your model’s life span.

Every carbon monoxide monitor is different. Some offer digital readouts of gas concentration in the air at all times, while others only raise the alarm in case of emergency. You can also choose from plug-in, hard-wired and battery-operated detectors. Take the time to sort through the options and choose the one best fitting your needs and budget.

Whichever model you select, a carbon monoxide detector will alert you to dangers in your home when you need to know. Understanding the optimal place to install them is the best way to keep your family safe.

Curious to learn more about home safety products and other types of detectors? Check out the home automation services offered by Vivint for more information.