What causes carbon monoxide a house? There can be multiple sources of carbon monoxide, whether in residential or commercial spaces. Water heaters, clothes dryers, furnaces, fireplaces, and even motor vehicles can produce the gas. It is almost impossible for humans to be able to detect carbon monoxide. Therefore, the only way to prevent the harm that it poses is by having a carbon monoxide detector. However, where to place carbon monoxide detector?

In this article we will address that question, so continue reading down below to learn more.

1. Where to Place Carbon Monoxide Detector?

Carbon monoxide is lighter compared to air. It is also commonly found in warm rising air, so it is best placed at least 5 feet off the ground.

Here are some things to consider when deciding where to place the carbon monoxide detector. Firstly, make sure that you put it near your bedroom and ideally all bedrooms, so that you can easily hear it if the alarm sounds. This way, you are notified immediately. Then you can quickly open the windows or exit your home to avoid the negative affects of carbon monoxide poisoning.

Secondly, if you have a home with multiple levels, make sure that each level has a carbon monoxide detector. We recommend this because of the multiple sources of carbon monoxide. This may differ slightly from where to install smoke detectors.

Aside from that, here are other places where to install a CO2 detector:


Cars are common sources for carbon monoxide because they release this gas when it’s running. Carbon monoxide can fill the garage and the gas can travel through the vents to the rest of your house.

Where laws require

For states such as California, the installation of carbon monoxide detectors is mandatory for residential homes. Houses must be equipped with one detector per floor.

Not all states require or have regulations about where to place carbon monoxide detectors. Just because you are not required by law to have them in your home doesn’t mean it’s not a good idea to have them. 

Ideally, there should be a strict guideline for installing it. Similarly, with smoke detectors, we do this to give maximum protection against the deadly gas.

2. How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?

If you have a multiple-story house it is crucial to have a sensor on each level, including the attic and the basement. You should also allocate a carbon monoxide detector for your garage.

If you live in a house that uses a furnace, whether propane or a conventional type, it is ideal to have a carbon monoxide detector in each room for utmost protection. The carbon monoxide in the furnace system can seep through the rest of the house.

If you do have a furnace, the carbon monoxide detector should be at least 5 feet away. The same applies to fireplaces and water heaters.

3. How does Carbon Monoxide Detector Work?

The alarm of a carbon monoxide detector is similar to a smoke detector in the sense that it sounds a piercing alarm if it detects a significant amount of carbon monoxide for a specific period. However, carbon monoxide detectors can differ from each other in terms of sensors. Here are the different types of sensors of carbon monoxide detectors:

  1. Electrochemical sensor
  2. Metal oxide sensor
  3. Biomimetic sensor

Most carbon monoxide detectors will set off if they detect a buildup of carbon dioxide in a specific are. They typically do so way before you begin feeling the effects of carbon monoxide poisoning. If the carbon monoxide concentration is around 50 ppm, it might take a few hours before the detector will sound its alarm. However, if it is over 150 ppm, it will alarm in a matter of minutes.

Once your alarm is triggered, make sure to act quickly. Move everybody outside of the house into an open space where you can breathe in fresh air. Inhaling low levels of carbon monoxide for an extended period of time is just as threatening as when you are suddenly exposed to the gas. 

Avoid going inside the premises immediately after the detector stops alarmingly. Call emergency responders and have the space assessed for safety first.

4. How to Test Carbon Monoxide Detector?

To know whether your carbon monoxide detector is working accordingly, you need to test it. Each type and model of detector will have slight variations as to how to test it. Make sure to consult the user manual. The important thing is to know that it is functioning properly. If it is battery operated, ensure the batteries are not flat. We recommend to replace batteries every 6 months and to test the detector every month.

If the carbon monoxide detector responds according to the indications needed in the user manual it means that it is working well. When you have multiple interconnected alarms it is essential to pay attention to whether they sound together when doing the test mentioned above. Linking carbon monoxide sensors to activate an alarm on all of them simultaneously is recommended. Even more so if you have a larger home.

Also, be mindful of how loud the alarms are sounding. It should be loud enough that the sound will awaken even the deepest of sleepers. Do not worry if neighbors can hear it since that is the point anyway; to warm people inside and those nearby.

5. Conclusion

It is essential to know where to place carbon monoxide detectors so that you will be able to protect yourself and those who are with you against the potential threat of carbon monoxide. Hopefully, you now have a better idea for carbon monoxide detector placement and how it works. The next step is finding which carbon monoxide detector is best for your home and the safety of your family.