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Carbon Monoxide Detector

Home Safety: Carbon Monoxide

Carbon monoxide (CO) is a gas created when combustion fuels—gasoline, natural gas, oil, propane, coal, wood, charcoal—burn incompletely. Sources include furnaces, boilers, and space heaters, vehicles, gas ranges, gas water heaters, wood or gas fireplaces, and charcoal grills.

Reducing Risk
  • Have your heating appliances and fireplace checked annually.
  • Never burn a charcoal grill indoors or in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Avoid idling vehicles or running generators in an attached garage, even with the door open.
  • Avoid using kerosene or gas space heaters in the home. If it's unavoidable, open a window while the heater is in use.
  • Install CO detectors in your house.

CO Detectors

Features to look for
  • Continuous digital readout of the CO level
  • Battery backup for plug-in AC models
  • Distinct alarms for low-level and high-level readings
  • Low-battery warning
Where to install
  • At a minimum, install one near each sleeping area.
  • Better yet, install one on each level of the house, including the basement.
  • CO detectors can be mounted at any level on the wall or on the ceiling, unless specified otherwise by the manufacturer.
  • Do not install a CO detector in the kitchen.
Testing and maintenance
  • As with smoke alarms, test your CO alarm once a month.
  • Keep the alarm free of dust and cobwebs.
  • Replace batteries or power packs as recommended by the manufacturer.


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