A Guide to Prevent Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Guide to Carbon Monoxide Poisoning (CO Poisoning)

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Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector

Tips on Installing a Carbon Monoxide Detector
Carbon monoxide detectors play a crucial role in your home. These small devices monitor the amount of carbon monoxide (CO) in the atmosphere, alerting you when it reaches a dangerous level. Note that detectors are not all created equally, and it is important that they be set up properly.  Practical tips on installing a carbon monoxide detector, from the number of units needed, to where and how to position them, will make the task simple and provide assurance in the safety of your family.

Types of Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Carbon Monoxide DetectorThere are a variety of different carbon monoxide detectors on the market, from basic models to those with high tech features and designs, including models installed by home security systems companies. Many experts and health agencies recommend detectors that can indicate both high and low levels of CO. Such detailed readings provide an accurate state of the air in your home, and can help prevent potential health risks, especially those arising from prolonged exposure to low levels of CO, an odourless and poisonous gas.

You will find detectors in both wired and wireless models. The device must not be connected to a wall switch, as it must be operable at all times, with battery backup for power outages. It is important that you diligently check the unit’s batteries on a regular basis, regardless of the model you choose.

Look for models that can hold a recorded history of the CO levels in your home as this type of information is useful in determining the exposure levels over time. See here for more on selecting the right carbon monoxide detector.

How Many CO detectors to Install
The number of units needed depends not only on the size of your home but also the number of appliances that pose a potential risk of exposure to CO. Your home should have at least one unit if all of the bedrooms are situated close together and more than one unit if there are separate sleeping areas throughout the home.

Carbon monoxide detectors should be replaced every five years or so, and it is smart to stagger the replacement dates when there is more than one unit in the home.  Always check the manufacture date to be sure you are buying a recent model.

Where to Install CO detectors
Setting up carbon monoxide detectors in the proper locations is vital. Although many models specify where they should be placed, there are a few general rules to remember.

Always install the CO detector near the sleeping area because you need to be able to hear the alarm while you are sleeping. Purchase extra detectors to be placed in or near bedrooms that are in separate areas of your home - such as the main floor, basement, or loft.

Unlike smoke, carbon monoxide has the same density as air and is evenly distributed throughout the room. Therefore, you can position a carbon monoxide detector at any height; it does not necessarily need to be on the ceiling.

Carbon monoxide units should not be placed in certain areas of your home as particular locations can not only trigger false alarms, but also cause damage to the alarm, causing it to be unreliable.  Installing a carbon monoxide detector in the following areas is NOT recommended:

  • Places with direct exposure to the elements
  • High traffic areas where the unit can be jostled and/or damaged
  • Garage, basement or attic space that is not heated
  • Near kitchen appliances (6 feet (2m) or further is acceptable)
  • Areas of high humidity
  • Places where chemicals, sprays and solvents can splash onto the unit i.e. bathroom vanity
  • Corners or spots where air flow is poor (6 feet (2m) or further is acceptable)
  • Near chimneys or vents connected to a fireplace, stove or other heating appliance including forced-air furnaces

How to Install a CO Detector
Some units can simply be plugged into a convenient outlet that fits the location specifications. Ensure that the outlet is not controlled by a switch, and that the detector is out of the reach of young children.

Other units need to be wired into your home directly. It can be done for a reasonable cost by a local electrician, who can ensure the device is powered up reliably. Mounting brackets are usually included in the package, along with directions on how and where to secure them.

Once your detector has been installed and turned on, test it by pressing the unit’s test button. Weekly or biweekly tests are recommended to ensure your detector is functioning properly.

Installing a carbon monoxide detector will not only protect your family from the potential dangers of CO poisoning, but will also give you peace of mind.


About the Author: Lily Armstrong is a freelance writer and is the head researcher and content manager for http://www.carbon-monoxide-poisoning.com/.



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