Carbon Monoxide Detector Mounting Height

Today we will discuss carbon monoxide detector mounting height in the home and everything related to carbon monoxide placement for home safety.

A carbon monoxide detector is a must for every home, whether it is a large house or a small apartment. Carbon monoxide is one of the deadliest and most common household toxins. Carbon monoxide detectors alert us when the potentially toxic gas is present, preventing us from being poisoned.

Since carbon monoxide is slightly lighter than air and can be found with warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about three feet above the floor.

How far should a carbon monoxide detector be from the furnace?

The answer to this question is not as cut and dry as you might think. The simple answer is you should never have a furnace installed in the same room as you have a carbon monoxide detector.

However, there are different schools of thought on this, and again, it is a matter of what you want to do and what is allowed in your area.  A carbon monoxide detector will let you know if a CO leak occurs but will not stop the leak; it will only warn you of the leak.  It will also let you know if a furnace is leaking CO.

The distance between a carbon monoxide detector and a furnace is important if the detector is new. A CO detector should be placed at least 15 feet away from a furnace.

This is because carbon monoxide levels can reach dangerous levels if gas leaks from the furnace. In addition, a carbon monoxide leak could also cause an electrical malfunction in the detector itself, which could prevent it from sounding an alarm.

Where to Place CO Alarms in Your Home

Every fuel-burning appliance in your home, including a gas furnace, produces some amount of carbon monoxide. Normally, these gasses are flushed out of your home, but if something goes wrong, a CO leak can endanger the lives of your family.

For this reason, it is important to have carbon monoxide detectors to alert you to an excess of CO in the air.

So, where should carbon monoxide detectors be placed to detect CO leaks in your home best?

If you are wondering where to place a carbon monoxide detector in your home, you should know that when planning to install carbon monoxide alarms (CO) in your home, you should consider how to place your alarms for maximum protection strategically.

CO detectors should be placed at least 10 feet away from windows and glass doors, as this will distort readings. Also, CO alarms should be placed at the top of stairwells, as CO tends to settle at the bottom of stairwells.

Since carbon monoxide is somewhat lighter than air and can be found in warm, rising air, detectors should be placed on a wall about three feet above the floor.

In fact, the best placement for CO detectors is outside the sleeping area to detect deadly CO buildups while you sleep. However, don’t place it too far away so you can hear the alarm beeping.

When deciding where to place your CO detectors, remember that CO alarms are designed to sound when there is a dangerous accumulation of CO in the air.

If you are looking to purchase a carbon monoxide alarm, one of the first things you will see on the packaging is the recommended placement of the device.

There are many different carbon monoxide alarms available, including plug-in, battery-powered, and even radio wave-powered. Some are designed for outdoor use, while others are meant for indoor use only. This can make it difficult to know where carbon monoxide alarms should be placed.

While some recommendations from Consumer Product Safety Commission, you generally need to decide for yourself where to place carbon monoxide alarms in your home.

To maximize the protection of your home from excessive levels of carbon monoxide, place your detectors in all of the following locations:

  1. At all levels of your home. To ensure your home provides maximum protection, it is important to have a CO detector on every floor.
  2. Six feet above the floor. Carbon monoxide detectors can get the best reading of the air in your home when placed five feet above the floor.
  3. Near all sleeping areas. If your CO levels get too high during the night, it’s important that anyone sleeping in your home can hear the detectors.
  4. Herefore, place your detectors close enough to each sleeping area so they can wake everyone up in an emergency.
  5. Near attached garages. Cars always produce carbon monoxide when they are running. If you have an attached garage, these gases can quickly spread to the rest of your home. A CO detector near your attached garage will alert you if this becomes a problem.
  6. The manufacturer recommends that each carbon monoxide detector model be tested to the manufacturer’s specifications. Therefore, it is important to consider these specifications when deciding where to place your detectors.

What to do if your CO Detector Issues an Alarm?

What do you do, and who do you call when your carbon monoxide detector goes into alarm? The manufacturer of First Alert®, the leading brand of carbon monoxide detectors, recommends the following:

  1. When the alarm goes off, immediately turn off appliances or other sources of combustion.
  2. Bring fresh air into the premises immediately by opening doors and windows.
  3. Call a qualified technician and correct the problem before returning appliances to service.
  4. If anyone shows symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning – headaches, dizziness, vomiting – call the fire department and move immediately to a place with fresh air.
  5. Conduct a headcount to make sure everyone is present. Do not re-enter the premises until it has been ventilated and the problem rectified.

What are normal carbon monoxide levels in a house?

Even in homes without gas appliances, there could be CO. So how do you know how much is too much? It depends on your age, size, and health. Here are some common thresholds of carbon monoxide.

  • 0.5-5 ppm – According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), this is the usual range for homes without gas stoves or other gas appliances.
  • Under 70 ppm – Most people have no ill effects when exposed to ranges below 70 ppm for short periods of time. However, prolonged exposure (6-8) hours can cause dizziness and headaches. Also, those with heart problems may experience chest pain, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).
  • 100 ppm – Slight headache when exposed for 2 hours or longer.
  • 150-200 ppm – Prolonged exposure at these levels often leads to disorientation and unconsciousness and can also lead to death.

You can read more on carbon monoxide levels and risk more by downloading this chart.

Wrapping UP: Placement of carbon monoxide detectors

We recommend choosing carbon monoxide detectors that have the most accurate detection technology. Carbon monoxide poisoning is the leading cause of death from accidental poisoning in America (Centers for Disease Control).

At a minimum, industry experts recommend installing a carbon monoxide detector on every level of the home – ideally on every level with fuel-burning appliances and outside of sleeping areas.

Additional carbon monoxide detectors are recommended within 15 to 20 feet of carbon monoxide sources, such as a furnace, water heater, or fireplace.

Alarms can alert you to a problem only after smoke or carbon monoxide has reached their sensors. Choose locations free of obstructions where the detector is kept clean and protected from adverse environmental conditions. Do not place the unit in rooms with empty air or next to a window or door.