Carbon monoxide detectors are an important part of any home security system. Whether you have a centrally monitored system that includes a monitor, or you have a stand-alone battery operated monitor, these monitors are key to keeping your family safe all year long.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that can be extremely dangerous when levels build up. Carbon monoxide poisoning occurs when carbon monoxide builds up in your bloodstream. When too much carbon monoxide is in the air your body replaces the oxygen in your red blood cells with carbon monoxide. This can lead to serious tissue damage or even death.
Carbon monoxide detectors are exactly what they sound like: small machines that monitor levels of carbon monoxide in the air. When the levels get too high an alarm sounds and you have time to exit the home before any injury takes place. If your alarm ever does go off, make sure all people exit the home and call 911 immediately.
You should have one carbon monoxide detector on every level of your home, including the basement and attached garage. They should be placed outside of sleeping areas, as the middle of the night is when you’re most likely to be caught off guard.
You should make sure that a detector is placed near any fuel burning appliance in your home, including your hot water heater, however, they should be several feet away. If they are too close to the appliance they may go off as appliances emit a small amount of carbon monoxide upon start-up.
Keep them out of humid areas and away from fans, ac vents, or heating vents because they can blow the carbon monoxide away from the area, causing the carbon monoxide to not reach the sensor.
Unlike your smoke alarm which is likely housed near the ceiling, you should install carbon monoxide detectors at knee height so that the carbon monoxide alarm goes off before the level builds up too much.
Be sure to test your carbon monoxide detector regularly to ensure that it is working properly. Press and hold the “test” button on the monitor until you hear two beeps. If you don’t hear the beeps, or if they are weak, it’s time to replace the batteries. If that doesn’t work it’s time to get a whole new detector. You should ideally test your CO monitors monthly to ensure that they are in good working condition and are able to protect your family from danger.