If you are one of many people living in America living without a carbon monoxide detector, read on!
Carbon monoxide (CO) is an odorless, tasteless, invisible gas that can, highly concentrated, kill you in one go or, in lower concentrations, harm you over time. In other words, it’s a poisonous gas that you will never know is there unless you have an alarm to warn you.
But is it a smoke detector?
Maybe! CO detectors don’t detect smoke, but you can buy combination smoke/CO detectors, which cuts down on your shopping list and installation time. Lots of people have one of each, though. Your call.
But what if I’m broke/a cheapskate/looking for a deal?
They’re not that expensive—you can probably pick one up for $15 to $20. However, before you jump on the bargain wagon, consider the quality per dollar. One consumer review site, for example, lists two of its top three picks as costing $35; the extra $20 is probably well worth increased function and peace of mind. You should also check the anticipated lifespan of a given detector; it could be anywhere between 2 and 7 years, and buying a cheap, short-lived one would qualify as “penny wise and pound foolish.”
Where do I put them?
Great question! I love the use of plural, because you should buy more than one CO detector. You need one per sleeping area—in fact, depending on the state you live in, you might be legally required to have one in each bedroom. Place one near (15-20 feet from) your furnace. The EPA has a full list of sources of CO, but essentially, they’re heat sources. Also make sure that there’s a least one every story of your house. This is adding up fast, but not as fast as a funeral, if you’ll forgive my vulgar but illuminating comparison.
So basically I’ll have CO detectors all over my house, each with a battery that dies at a different time?
Yeah! That is, unless you want to hardwire them all together. A system-connected set can also warn the authorities if CO reaches dangerous levels.
Still have questions?
There are lots of different kinds of CO detectors—digital, portable, wireless, biomimetic, etc.—so if you have special requirements, like an alarm for someone with poor hearing, do a little extra research to find the one that will work for you. If you’re concerned you might be exposed to CO, learn the symptoms!
Why did you choose to get carbon monoxide detectors for your household? Tell us your stories on Facebook! And stay safe out there!