The Ultimate Guide to Carbon Monoxide Alarms

November 19, 2018

installing carbon monoxide alarmsCarbon monoxide, as you probably already know, is a dangerous gas that can easily creep into your home and build to unhealthy levels. Installing carbon monoxide alarms (CO alarms) in your home can protect your family and give you peace of mind. Even if you live in a house for rent in Loveland, you should still make sure CO alarms are installed to protect you from disaster. Here’s what you should know about installing carbon monoxide alarms.



Why Install Carbon Monoxide Alarms?

Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas known as the silent killer. It can prevent your body from properly transporting oxygen, which can make it deadly if inhaled in large amounts. Carbon monoxide can also build up over time and slow and stop a person’s ability to breathe. Carbon monoxide is naturally created from combustion from natural gas and propane appliances, wood fireplaces, gas and propane engines, and fires. If there isn’t proper venting or if a house is sealed to be energy efficient, it’s more likely that carbon monoxide can build and create an unsafe situation.



The only way for you to detect carbon monoxide is through an alarm. If carbon monoxide is detected in your home, the monitor lets out a loud beeping noise. Once the alarm goes off, everyone in the house should leave immediately and call the fire department to assess the situation.





Where Should You Install CO Alarms?

You need to have at least one CO monitor on each level of your home and in or near each bedroom. If that isn’t possible, at least have an alarm in a common area close to all the sleeping areas. Rooms with babies or elderly people particularly need their own CO alarms. CO alarms should also be placed in living areas and in long hallways. The more alarms there are in the house, the greater chance that carbon monoxide will be detected sooner and the family can get out of the house faster.



Think of all the appliances and things in your home that could produce CO and place a monitor near them. This includes putting alarms near appliances in the kitchen, next to the washer and dryer in the laundry room, in the basement by the furnace, in the garage near the cars, and in any room that has a fireplace or wood-burning stove. Check the installation guide with your alarm to see how far away it needs to be from a fireplace or appliance to be effective.



Unlike smoke alarms, CO monitors can be placed at any height in the room. In most cases, they can be plugged in directly to a wall outlet. If possible, plug the monitor into the room at the height of a person sleeping. However, if you have pets or young children that could disrupt the alarm, you can also plug it in higher on the wall and still have an effective monitor. The only exception to this is if you use a combination smoke and CO alarm, which needs to be installed on the ceiling.

How Do You Install CO Alarms?

CO monitors can be purchased at any home improvement or big box store. CO monitors can easily be plugged into wall outlets. Follow the instructions in your user manual carefully to ensure the monitor is placed and installed correctly. Some CO alarms have extra features, such as wireless connectivity. If you purchase a more advanced monitor, be sure to read the instructions to understand how to use all of the features.



Maintaining Your CO Monitor

Write the date on the back of the monitor when you purchase it and change the batteries every 6 to 12 months. Regularly clean the monitor of dust and dirt by spraying it with compressed air. Don’t use water or chemicals on the unit. Replace the entire unit at least every 10 years.



Carbon monoxide is a deadly and nearly unavoidable risk for renters and homeowners. To protect yourself and your family, learn about the importance of carbon monoxide alarms, install them properly, and maintain them regularly.

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