Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

Are your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors located correctly?

Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

When used properly, these inexpensive instruments can save your life. However, if installed in the wrong locations, they won’t perform the tasks they’re designed for. As a result, you may lose not only your life, but the lives of others. Building and fire codes require both of these detectors to be present in your home. The location of carbon monoxide detectors for residences is specified as in each room which has a fuel burning appliance, such as a fireplace, furnace, hot water heater or oven. In addition, one must be located within 10 foot of a bedroom door. Most homes will require multiple detectors. As to smoke detectors, one per floor.

Some towns have additional requirements that require more than the state codes. Check with the local fire board for more info.

Carbon Monoxide Detectors

These will detect this deadly, odorless gas. Make no mistake, if this gas builds up in your home, it can kill. And you won’t even notice it, you’ll just go to sleep – forever. In fact, over 500 people in the US die each year from carbon monoxide poisoning.

Now that you know where to place the detectors, exactly where do they go? On the ceiling? Head height? Knee height?

If you’re not sure, you have lots of company. Bunny and I are Realtors. As a result, we’re in lots of homes every week. And I always check the location of the carbon monoxide monoxide detectors because quite often they’re wrong. And if they are, I’ll tell my clients, and if the owners are home I’ll tell them.

The proper answer is below head level when you’re in bed. That’s because carbon monoxide is a heavy gas, and starts to build at the floor level. And you want to have the detector sound the alarm before you start to breathe it in. Use 16″ off the floor as the proper height, which is the height of the typical wall outlet. What a coincidence. They make plug in detectors, maybe that’s what you could use.

Smoke Detectors

This on’s easy, almost everyone knows the proper location, which is on the ceiling. Smoke rises, therefore, you want the detector where it starts to accumulate. Again, one per floor.

Combination Detectors

There are manufacturers that make and sell combination carbon monoxide and smoke detectors. From what you’re read above, where is the proper location for one of the combo detectors? If you answered that the proper location is in the garbage can, you’re correct.

How Long Do They Last?

Carbon Monoxide detectors should be replace every 5 years. Smoke detectors last longer, 8 – 10 years.

Bottom Line

Many are battery operated, however, even the plug in units have a battery backup. Please be sure to change the batteries regularly. And if a unit starts to beep, don’t remove the batteries – replace them.

When you’re ready to either buy or sell a home, please contact us. We can help.

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