Before you fire up your furnace or fireplace, it's important to take stock of your carbon monoxide detector. In addition to making sure it's working properly, you should also make sure it's placed correctly. Proper placement counts, especially when dealing with something as life-threatening as a build-up of carbon monoxide gases. The following offers a list of places where your CO detector should go, as well as a few places where it shouldn't be.
Where Your CO Detector Should Go
For starters, you should have a CO detector installed on every floor of your home, including the basement and attic level. It's possible for a concentrated buildup of carbon monoxide gas to occur on a single floor, so having a detector on every floor can keep you from walking into a dangerous situation. Here are a few other places that need a CO detector:
- Near sleeping areas - All of the people in your home who are currently asleep should be able to hear the CO detector if it goes off in the middle of the night.
- Near attached garages - CO gases from running vehicles can easily find its way into your home, so you'll want to have advanced warning before that happens.
- At or near eye level - If your CO detector has a digital readout, it's a good idea to keep it at eye level so it's easier to read (otherwise, you should follow your manufacturer's instructions on mounting height, since some models can be ceiling-mounted while others must be wall-mounted).
Where It Shouldn't Go
Of course, there are plenty of places where your CO detector shouldn't go. For starters, it's not a good idea to have them installed too close to fuel-burning appliances, including your furnace, water heater, or stove. Placing your CO detector within 15 to 20 feet of your appliances could cause false positive alarms to occur on a consistent basis.
You should also steer clear of humid areas, including your bathroom, as excess humidity can cause problems for your CO detector. Areas that get direct sunlight are also a no-go for CO detectors due to temperature tolerances.
CO detectors shouldn't be installed in places where there's a ceiling fan, a supply or return vent, or a window that's regularly opened nearby. The currents generated by air moving through a vent, window, or fan can throw off a CO detector's measurements, resulting in a false reading or even no reading at all.