A guide to carbon monoxide...

CO detector placement

Carbon monoxide is a leading cause of poisoning deaths and poisoning related injury. Proper CO detector placement is essential to the proper functioning of the detector.

"Do's" for CO detector placement:

  • Place detectors in or near sleeping areas - where the sound of an alarm will easily wake people up.

  • Place detectors on each level of a residence.

  • Place detectors as per manufacturer instructions.

  • Carbon monoxide is roughly the same weight as air and over time distributes throughout a room. A detector can be placed at any height in any acceptable location as long as the alarm can be heard.

  • For added protection, place a carbon monoxide detector 10 to 15 feet (3 to 5 meters) from the furnace and other fuel burning heat sources.

"Do nots" for CO detector placement:

To avoid damage to the detector and to reduce false alarms, do not place CO detectors:

  • in unheated basements, attics or garages

  • in areas of high humidity (bathrooms, showers, laundry areas)

  • where they will be exposed to chemical solvents or cleaners, including hair spray, deodorant sprays, etc.

  • near vents, flues or chimneys

  • within 6 feet (2 meters) of heating and cooking appliances (they may give off a small volume of carbon monoxide when starting up which can trigger false alarms)

  • near forced- or unforced-air ventilation openings

  • within 6 feet (2 meters) of corners or areas where natural air circulation is low

  • where they can be bumped and damaged

  • where directly exposed to weather.


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