Carbon monoxide (CO) is a colorless, odorless, and tasteless gas that can be deadly. It is produced when fuels such as natural gas, propane, oil, and wood are burned incompletely. CO can leak from appliances and other sources, and it can build up to dangerous levels in your home without you even knowing it.
That’s why it’s important to have carbon monoxide detectors in your home. CO detectors can warn you of the presence of CO before it reaches dangerous levels, giving you time to evacuate your home and call for help.
Where to place carbon monoxide detectors
The best place to place carbon monoxide detectors is on every level of your home, including the basement. You should also place a detector in each bedroom, and near any fuel-burning appliances, such as furnaces, water heaters, and fireplaces.
Here are some specific placement recommendations:
- Basement: Place a CO detector near the bottom of the stairs leading to the basement.
- Bedrooms: Place a CO detector within 10 feet of each bedroom door, outside the sleeping area.
- Living room: Place a CO detector near the fireplace, if you have one.
- Kitchen: Place a CO detector near the stove and oven.
- Laundry room: Place a CO detector near the furnace and water heater.
How to install carbon monoxide detectors
CO detectors should be installed at eye level, between 4 and 6 feet from the floor. Avoid placing CO detectors near windows, doors, or vents, as these can affect their accuracy.
Once your CO detectors are installed, be sure to test them monthly. To test a CO detector, press and hold the test button until the alarm sounds. If the alarm does not sound, replace the batteries.
What to do if your carbon monoxide detector goes off
If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, leave your home immediately and call 911. Do not re-enter your home until the fire department has given you the okay.
Tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning
Here are some tips for preventing carbon monoxide poisoning:
- Have your heating and cooling systems inspected and cleaned by a qualified professional every year.
- Make sure your fireplace is properly ventilated.
- Never use a generator or grill indoors.
- Never leave a car running in an attached garage.
By following these tips, you can help to protect yourself and your family from carbon monoxide poisoning.