With the winter approaching we tend to warm up our cars or heating elements that will generate CO. It does not matter if you are living in a new home or century old home. Having a safety device can safe someone you love.
Yesterday we discussed Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention and why having a Carbon Monoxide detector is so important. Today let's talk about the proper placement and installation of those detectors. Remember, if you have any fossil fuel burning heater or appliance, fireplace, or attached garage, you must have a CO detector/alarm.
Before purchasing a CO detector, know what your state or municipal government requires. Usually a search of the state’s website or call to local building division will get you headed in the right direction. The basis for these requirements evolved, in part, from recommendations by the 2005 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) carbon monoxide guidelines.
CO detectors can be purchased from most home improvement, hardware, and some office supply stores. Be aware that some are battery powered and some are electric with battery backup. You may have a choice of stand alone CO detectors or combination smoke/CO. When choosing a combination unit, the alarms must be distinguishable.
In my home I have combination Smoke/CO Detectors, on each level of the home. I then have two plug-in CO detectors with battery back-up, one in the basement and another at the top of the basement stairs on the other side of the basement door in the kitchen as a back-up in case the first one didn't go off for any reason. (I don't have a garage--boohoo). By code here in NJ, I only need one detector in my whole house! But in this case, I feel that redundancy is a great thing; and when it comes to my family's safety, it is not the time to settle for the "minimum code requirement."
Installation locations will vary by manufacturer due to the degree of research conducted on that specific type and style of detector. Read and clearly understand the instructions specific to your unit. They are not all the same.
These are some general guidelines common to most manufacturers:
- Alarms should be placed on every level of your home, including the basement, and near or over any attached garage.
- They should be located within 10-15 feet outside of each separate sleeping area.
- Detectors can be placed on the wall or the ceiling as specified in the installation instructions.
- Do not install detectors within 15-20 feet of any furnace or fuel burning heat source.
- Detectors should not be placed in or near humid areas, such as bathrooms.
- Place alarms in areas where they will not be damaged by children or pets.
- Do not install alarms in direct sunlight or areas subjected to temperature extremes. (crawlspaces, unfinished attics, porches)
- They should not be installed behind curtains or other obstructions.
- Alarms may not function as designed if installed near ceiling fans, heat vents, air conditioners, fresh air returns, or open windows.
- Life expectancy for detectors will be specific to each manufacturer’s recommendations. Carbon monoxide detectors actually have an expiration date, so check with the manufacturer instructions to determine how long the carbon monoxide detector is supposed to last and maintain your specific unit accordingly.
I'm celebrating National Fire Prevention Month! Read other posts I've written this month on this topic:
What's Wrong with this Picture? Disconnected Flue Pipe
Carbon Monoxide Poisoning Prevention
Chimney and Fireplace Safety
What is an anti-tip device? And should I have one in my home?
Unique Properties: The Chicago Water Tower
Family Fire Escape Plan
Fire Prevention Checklist
National Fire Prevention Month Starts Today!
Posted By: U.S. Inspect Blog