Common Questions About Placing Carbon Monoxide Detectors In Your Home

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Carbon monoxide is a dangerous gas that has no odor or color.  It forms when the combustion of carbon is incomplete, and the gas can potentially leak into your home by a faulty appliance.  Since a carbon monoxide leak is potentially fatal, it is important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. Just like smoke detectors, a carbon monoxide detector will go off when it detects the deadly gas in the air.  Here are some common questions about where to place the carbon monoxide detectors in your home.

Should Detectors Be Installed Along The Floor or Ceiling?

Most people are familiar with how smoke rises upward, and how it is recommended to place smoke alarms near the ceilings in your home.  This is not true of carbon monoxide.  Carbon monoxide will not really rise or fall, since it weighs the same as air.  That's why it does not matter if a carbon monoxide detector is on the ceiling or at ground level. 

Should Detectors Be Installed On Every Floor?

Since carbon monoxide does not rise, you should have a carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor of your home.  Ideally, you'll want a carbon monoxide detector installed on any floor that has an appliance that burns fuel, with it being located near the appliance.

For example, this could include a gas powered furnace or water heater that is in your basement, a gas powered stove in your kitchen on the first floor, and a gas powered dryer that is on the second floor. All of these appliances have the potential for a carbon monoxide leak and need a detector near them. 

In addition, you will want to place carbon monoxide detectors near the bedrooms.  If you cannot hear a detector go off, it does not do you any good.  A sound sleeper could potentially sleep through a detector if it goes off in a basement, with the bedrooms located far away from where the alarm is going off.

Should Detectors Not Be Placed In Certain Areas?

You will want to avoid placing a carbon monoxide detector in any space that has dead air, such as a room that has the door closed frequently.  Place detectors in hallways that have air flow, since it will catch carbon monoxide in the area.  In addition, avoid placing a carbon monoxide detector near a window or door, since drafts could cause the detector to not sense the carbon monoxide in the air.