Protecting yourself and your family from all kinds of threats is a top priority, especially in your home. While security systems can protect you from theft and break-ins, you need a unique security device for carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. With a carbon monoxide detector, you can monitor danger and receive an alert before carbon monoxide levels get too high. These safety devices can prevent carbon monoxide poisoning and even save your life.
CO is a colorless, odorless gas that can cause serious health issues and even death when individuals inhale it in unsafe amounts. This gas is harmful to people of all ages. CO poisoning can occur quickly or slowly over time, depending on the amount, and can even kill people while sleeping.
Learn more about how you can protect your household with carbon monoxide detectors.
What Does a Carbon Monoxide Detector Do?
Installing carbon monoxide detectors in your home is one of the best defenses against carbon monoxide poisoning. CO detectors monitor the level of carbon monoxide gas in the air by measuring its concentration in parts per minute. When that concentration reaches an unsafe amount, the detectors sound an alarm or alert safety personnel so you can quickly evacuate the home and get assistance.
When carbon dioxide builds up in an enclosed space, it gradually takes the place of oxygen in the blood, causing illness and eventually death. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 20,000 Americans visit the emergency room for CO poisoning every year, and more than 400 die from CO poisoning annually.
CO inhibits the body's ability to carry oxygen, leading to:
- Severe headaches
- Loss of consciousness
- Chest pain
- Brain damage
Because of its invisible, odorless nature, carbon monoxide is impossible to detect without a carbon monoxide detector.
Do I Need a Carbon Monoxide Detector in an All-Electric House?
Nearly all fuel sources can produce carbon monoxide, including wood, gasoline, natural gas, methane and propane. This gas is produced by fumes from running vehicles, other small engines, fireplaces, stoves, furnaces, gas ranges, clothes dryers, water heaters and similar appliances.
Do you need a carbon monoxide detector if no gas is in your house? It's vital to have a carbon monoxide detector wherever you burn liquid or solid fuel for heating or cooking or have an attached garage. Even if you use fully electric appliances and cars, you may occasionally burn fuel, or gas-powered cars may park at your home. These small instances aren't likely to cause CO poisoning, but you can never be too careful.
The risks of not having a carbon monoxide detector far outweigh the cost of purchasing and installing one.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
The optimal number of detectors you need depends on the size of your home and how many bedrooms you have. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) recommends that homeowners should install carbon monoxide detectors on each level of a home, outside of sleeping areas and inside each bedroom.
Use the size and layout of your home to determine the number of carbon monoxide detectors to install to protect yourself and your family. For example, a one-story house with two bedrooms might only need two to four detectors. A larger home with three stories and four bedrooms could require as many as eight carbon monoxide detectors total.
Remember that the more carbon monoxide detectors you install in your home, the better the chances that you'll catch rising carbon monoxide levels early enough to safely evacuate your home and call for professional help.
Do Carbon Monoxide Detectors Expire?
Yes, carbon monoxide detectors can expire. The CDC recommends replacing carbon monoxide detectors every five years to ensure you're always protected. Maintain your carbon monoxide detector by testing it each month and replacing the batteries regularly.
It's also essential to use a modern carbon monoxide detector that will only alert you to the presence of carbon monoxide. Older carbon monoxide detectors have less sophisticated technology and might alert you about other gases. What other gases can set off a carbon monoxide detector? Unreliable carbon monoxide detectors can alert you to the presence of:
- Sulfur dioxide
- Isopropyl alcohol
- Hydrogen sulfide
- Nitrogen dioxide
Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The best locations to install carbon monoxide detectors are inside bedrooms, in common hallways that connect bedrooms and in basements. Placing carbon monoxide detectors here ensures they can catch rising carbon monoxide levels if the issue occurs while the occupants are asleep.
Additionally, place carbon monoxide detectors in rooms where fuel-burning appliances like furnaces are located, like screened-in porches, water heater rooms, basements and attics. This approach can ensure swift detection of rising carbon monoxide levels due to a gas leak or malfunctioning appliance.
Install carbon monoxide detectors toward the ceiling if possible — about 5 feet high on the wall — because carbon monoxide rises with warmer air. Consult the manufacturer's instructions for the CO detectors you choose to discover the recommended locations for installing them.
Considerations for Installing Carbon Monoxide Detectors
When installing your carbon monoxide detectors, keep several points in mind so you get the best protection. Remember to place carbon monoxide detectors in essential areas like bedrooms and hallways. Here are some additional guidelines to consider before you install your detectors:
- Avoid placing carbon monoxide detectors near windows or spaces that get little foot traffic.
- Install your detector several feet away from a gas-burning appliance to avoid nuisance tripping.
- Ensure nothing obstructs your carbon monoxide detector's reading, like curtains or ceiling fans that produce air turbulence.
Different types of carbon monoxide detectors also carry special considerations. Check out additional tips for safely installing your detectors:
- Plug-in detectors: Installing a plug-in carbon monoxide detector is as simple as inserting it into an electrical socket. Although the detectors won't be close to the ceiling, placing them near bedrooms and replacing batteries often should still ensure a good reading.
- Monitored detectors: Monitored carbon monoxide detectors are hardwired to your home's existing security system. Monitored CO detectors should also include batteries in case of a power outage.
Having a professional install your carbon monoxide detectors ensures you have suitable protection in the essential areas of your home.
Who Installs Carbon Monoxide Detectors?
Since carbon monoxide detectors are vital for the safety of everyone in your home, it's safer to have a professional install them. Although anyone can plug a carbon monoxide detector into their walls, getting professional installation ensures you follow all of the manufacturer's instructions. It can also guarantee the best placement of each detector, so you know your whole house is covered.
When you need professional carbon monoxide detector installation, go with a security company with the knowledge and support to give you superior protection. Knight Security Systems has many years of experience installing carbon monoxide detectors and an installation team with the highest level of expertise.
Contact Knight Security Systems for Carbon Monoxide Detection
You deserve the peace of mind that comes with knowing your home is securely protected from threats, including invisible ones. Having carbon monoxide detectors in your home is essential for protecting your loved ones.
Knight Security Systems installs and services carbon monoxide detectors and other industry-leading security systems. Your family's safety is our greatest priority. With more than 60 years of experience in the industry, our systems and installation make a difference in an emergency.
Contact Knight Security Systems for more information about carbon monoxide detector installation or to consult with our security consultants today.