As of December 2017, there are 38 states in the US that require carbon monoxide (CO) detectors in residential dwellings.
Guess what state isn’t on that list. That’s right—Arizona.
But while Arizona doesn’t currently require CO detectors in homes, you definitely still need to install CO detectors throughout your home to protect your family from being poisoned by CO—or worse—dying from it.
That said, where exactly should you place CO detectors in your home? Well, we always suggest following the IRC (International Residential Code) when it comes to CO detector placement:
“Carbon monoxide alarms in dwelling units shall be installed outside of each separate sleeping area in the immediate vicinity of the bedrooms. Where a fuel-burning appliance is located within a bedroom or its attached bathroom, a carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed within the bedroom.”
We’ll explain this in simple language below and give you other tips on carbon monoxide detector placement in your home.
We’re most vulnerable to CO poisoning when we’re asleep because we’re breathing in the toxic gas but not exhibiting any symptoms. That’s why the IRC suggests placing a CO detector outside “each sleeping area” (i.e. bedroom). We suggest making sure the alarm is within 10 feet of the bedroom door.
If you only place one CO detector in your home, place it so that it’s as close as possible to every bedroom in the home.
Any of the following appliances are considered “fuel-burning”:
(Okay, so it’s highly unlikely that some of those appliances would ever be found in a bedroom but you never know…)
So if a bedroom in your home has any of these appliances OR if a fuel-burning appliance is located in a bathroom that attaches to a bedroom, you need to place a carbon monoxide detector inside that bedroom (not outside).
If you have a two-story home and all the bedrooms are upstairs, don’t forget to place at least one CO detector downstairs.
In fact, make sure that you have one detector on each floor of your home (including a basement if you have one). If you have a garage, make sure that you place one near it (i.e. in the hallway leading to the garage).
Any fuel-burning appliance is a source of CO. So refer to the list in tip #2 again and make sure that you place a CO detector as close as possible to these appliances in your home.
Common sources of CO within the home might include:
Fun fact: CO gas is lighter than air. But, contrary to popular belief, when CO gas enters an enclosed space (i.e. a bedroom), it does not rise to the top of the room immediately and stay there.
Instead, CO actually "equalizes" over time, which means it spreads evenly throughout an enclosed space.
That said, the height of a CO detector's placement on the wall isn't important.
The only exception to this is if your CO detector is a "combo" detector (i.e. a single detector that's designed to detect both dangerous CO levels and the presence of smoke). If you have a combo CO & smoke detector, it must be placed so that the top of the detector is not less than 12 inches from the ceiling (remember, smoke rises).
If you place a carbon monoxide detector too close to a window or door, any incoming fresh air may prevent a CO detector from properly detecting CO and sounding its alarm.
Most CO detectors on the market today are designed to last only 5 to 7 years (some can die shorter than this). If you’re not sure whether your CO detector is still functioning properly, have a professional inspect it.
Just contact us. We’ll make sure your home is protected with properly placed, quality CO detectors.