What are Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Where Should I Install Them?

Have you ever heard of carbon monoxide poisoning? Yes, you have. Have you taken it seriously? Ummmm ….,

A carbon monoxide detector is what detects the presence of carbon monoxide (CO). Carbon Monoxide poisoning is a result of breathing in carbon monoxide at high levels.

Carbon monoxide is a silent killer and virtually unnoticeable by humans. These detectors measure the levels of carbon monoxide over time and ring an alarm before dangerous levels can accumulate in your environment.

Even though carbon monoxide detectors don’t function like smoke detectors and vice versa, combined ones are also available in the market. Some sources of carbon monoxide in your home can be a blocked chimney, water heater, open flames, etc.

Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Today, several types of carbon monoxide detectors function to keep environments safe. Here’s a look at some of them.

Digital Detectors

The digital carbon monoxide detectors are an advanced version that displays the current and the peak reading. These models can read the levels below the threshold of the alarm and assess the degree of the hazard.

They are like the basic models but cost more.

Portable Detectors

Portable carbon monoxide detectors are useful for professional applications such as diagnosis or maintenance. They are more expensive than home safety detectors.

They come in two types. One is used in aircraft, trucks, or cars, and the other type is useful for first responders such as firemen.


There are four types of carbon monoxide detecting sensors:

Electrochemical Sensor

The electrochemical sensor is one of the high-quality carbon monoxide sensors. It generates currents that display the level of carbon monoxide through a scientific system.

These devices function well in most home temperatures and exhibit a long service life.

Biomimetic Sensor

The biomimetic sensor utilizes a combination of gel-like liquids to detect the presence of carbon monoxide. The detectors that use this sensor have a lifespan of up to three years.

Optochemical Sensor

It’s the most cost-effective sensor which uses a pad that changes its color when it detects the presence of carbon monoxide. These sensors can only detect if carbon monoxide is present but not the levels.

Metal Oxide Semiconductor

A metal-oxide-semiconductor is a result of utilizing wired circuits to keep a check on carbon monoxide. The detectors that use this sensor usually have a service life of up to ten years.

Things to Consider when Choosing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

You could choose any type of carbon monoxide detector out there, but some research could go a long way in saving your life. It’s a must to understand the type of detector that will work best for your home.

Here are some things to consider before you swipe your card.

Digital Display

A carbon monoxide detector with a digital display makes it more convenient to measure the levels of the poisonous gas. An alarm will alert you if carbon monoxide levels surpass their limit.


Several choices are available. The most efficient option is what works best for you.

A battery-operated carbon monoxide detector exhibits reserve battery during a power outage while a hard-wired detector provides constant energy without the need of replacing the battery.

However, if you’re looking for the most convenient installation, the plug-in detectors could be a decent choice.


A critical point to selecting a carbon monoxide detector is the usage. Even if an area of your home goes unoccupied, a detector must be in place as a safety measure.

You don’t want to wake up one day and find your house amid carbon monoxide. Installing carbon monoxide detectors in the designed spaces in your home will go a long way in keeping the air you breathe in safer.


Before choosing a carbon monoxide detector, you must ensure that it is certified for home use by the governing body.

How to install a Carbon Monoxide Detector?

The primary logic of installing carbon monoxide detectors is that they should be in high traffic areas. One detector should be installed on every level of your home including the basement and the attic.

A decent placement for carbon monoxide detectors is at knee level, which is often the height of a sleeper’s mouth and nose. If your house has children and pets as well, then place the detectors as high as required to keep them out of their reach.

Benefits of Carbon Monoxide Detectors

A device that is so critical for home safety must exhibit benefits. Look at some of the crucial selling points of carbon monoxide detectors that will cement as to why they must be installed in every home.

Early Warning Signs

Carbon monoxide detectors can provide early signs of warning. The noise that is set off by the alarm is loud enough to be heard across your home, giving you and your family enough time to evacuate.

Protection from Symptoms

Dangerous levels of carbon monoxide can creep up and make you feel sick. Carbon monoxide poisoning causes symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and vomiting that might go unnoticed if you don’t have a detector.

Immediate Carbon Monoxide Detection

They immediately detect the presence of carbon monoxide in your homes. It allows you the time to get the malfunctioning appliances looked at.

Alert you to problems

Carbon monoxide detectors aren’t affected by temperature changes or by the presence of other gases in the air. Generally, these detectors will not confuse carbon monoxide with any other gas so you could rely on their accuracy.

Time for a replacement

Carbon monoxide detectors will let you know when they need to be replaced. They usually have an alarm that rings to alert you of their replacement.

Easy Detection

Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide is odorless and colorless. So, without a carbon monoxide detector, you can’t trace the levels in your home.

These benefits make it crystal clear why you need to have carbon monoxide detectors in your homes. Installing these detectors today could protect you and your homes from damage for years on end.

Where to install Carbon Monoxide Detectors in your home?

Today, carbon monoxide detectors are a must for every home. But you must understand where to install them and why.

According to the carbon monoxide guidelines set by the National Fire Protection Association, carbon monoxide detectors should be installed centrally outside of each sleeping area in the vicinity of the bedrooms and each detector should be placed on the ceiling, wall, or other location as specified in the installation instructions.

According to the International Code Council, for new construction, a carbon monoxide alarm should be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the vicinity of the bedrooms in housing units within which fuel-based appliances are installed and those that have attached garages.

A carbon monoxide detector is mandatory for three crucial locations in your home:

  • Outside each bedroom or sleeping area.
  • On each floor including the basement and the attic.
  • By doors that open towards the garage.

A carbon monoxide detector shouldn’t be placed:

  • In an enclosed or restricted space.
  • Where it could face obstruction.


  • Above a sink.
  • Nearby a window, door, or vent.

Safety Reminders

Test the carbon monoxide detector every month

To make sure that your carbon monoxide detector is functioning properly, you must test it every month. Most detectors possess a button to signify that it’s working.


You must ensure to keep the carbon monoxide detector clean from dust and dirt that may prevent it from functioning to its full potential. You could wipe it with a dry cloth to eliminate the particles.

Low battery alerts

A single carbon monoxide detector will not last a lifetime. It will run out of batteries that need to be replaced immediately. When your carbon monoxide detector is low on batteries, it will ring an alarm.

Even if it doesn’t, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends changing the carbon monoxide detector’s batteries every year when turning clocks forward for the Daylight Savings Time.

Proper Installation

Unlike smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors shouldn’t be directly placed on the ceiling. Carbon monoxide tends to mix with the air and doesn’t rise.

Stick to the manufacturer’s manual for proper installation at the correct height and remember to keep children and pets in mind during the installation.

Are you ready?

Now you know why installing carbon monoxide detectors in homes is critical. So, be sure of it!

An architect’s job also includes looking out for their client’s health and wellness along with the design of their homes. And this appears to be one of those times when a residential architect will surely suggest you install carbon monoxide detectors in your homes.

And they’re not wrong!

Get your research mode on, track down the best and most efficient carbon monoxide detectors you can find, and get discussing with your residential architect. Some professional opinions never harmed anyone.

And the sooner you do this, the better! So, what are you waiting for? The time to keeping your homes safe is here.