Where should I place Carbon Monoxide detectors?
As a Chicago heating and air conditioning contractor, customers commonly ask me where they should place carbon monoxide detectors and how many they need.
Carbon monoxide detectors will constantly monitor for dangerous levels, so it’s important to install them in the right areas. The first place to install a carbon monoxide detector is by the bedrooms. National health and fire safety codes say that carbon monoxide alarms should be located centrally outside all sleeping areas. In Chicago, the code states to place them within 10′ of every bedroom.
Is Mounting Them On The Wall Or Ceiling Best?
There are usually outlets in the hall next to the bedrooms where you can conveniently place them. CO has a molar mass of 28.0 and air has a molar mass of 28.8. Since the air is only slightly heavier, it is best to read the instructions of the detector about whether to mount it on the wall or ceiling.
Indoor carbon monoxide most often occurs due to incomplete combustion from a heating source. Since warm air rises, the best choice is to install the carbon monoxide detector on the ceiling if possible.
Placing one in the living areas where you spend most of your time is also a good idea. If you live in a Chicago condo and the heating source is in the living space, this is the best idea. At the least, install one by your bedrooms.
If you live in a single family home in Chicago, you would be well served to put one in the room with the furnace or hot water heater. Also, make sure it and all of your CO detectors have a battery backup. If your power goes out, your hot water heater still runs. The CO can back up through the venting if the chimney is blocked.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
How many detectors one would need varies on the size of the house obviously. You should place them near bedrooms and in each major area of your home where you spend time.
If you have had one for years, you may want to look at the back of it and read the expiration date. Most detectors have had a 5 year life up until recently. The carbon monoxide detector should be replaced if it is past due. You can call the phone number on the back if you are not so sure.
With the digital age comes new developments in carbon monoxide detectors. Those familiar with Nest thermostats know what I mean. You can find slick smoke/CO detectors that run on batteries, act as a night light, and alert you if you are not home.
It is a good idea to have your home heating systems serviced annually. Also, call me for Carbon Monoxide Testing whenever you’re concerned about the levels in your Chicago home.
As my Mom calls to tell me every year, “Change your batteries in your smoke detectors!” All I can add is change them in CO detectors too!