Carbon Monoxide Detectors (Location, Levels and Beeping)

Carbon Monoxide, Carbon Monoxide Detector -

Carbon Monoxide Detectors (Location, Levels and Beeping)

Carbon Monoxide Detectors save lives. They are one of the most important safety items we have in our home to protect our loved ones. Common questions such as carbon monoxide detector placement, beeping, and false alarms continue to be asked and understood by the general public. In this article, we will answer these popular questions regarding carbon monoxide detectors.

Before we continue, please do not confuse carbon dioxide for carbon monoxide. Such mistakes can be deadly, and funny enough we see it happen frequently.

What are Good Carbon Monoxide Levels?

The answer to this is quite straightforward: it is 0ppm. Zero parts per million. Now, you might wonder why I emphasize this so strongly. Some may desire a specific threshold, but let me explain why zero is the crucial point.

Imagine you have a carbon monoxide detector that reads 10 parts per million. Is that a safe level? Well, for some individuals, it may not have an immediate impact, while for others, it could pose a risk. Moreover, there's the concern that 10 PPM can swiftly escalate to 100 within 30 seconds. This is the crux of the matter. Carbon monoxide gas is being emitted, and it is unknown at what time the CO gas will escalate and pose a severe threat to life.



Just like a small leak in your home's piping that starts as a drip but can ultimately turn into a significant problem, the same principle applies to carbon monoxide. If you detect even a minimal amount of carbon monoxide, it's only a matter of time before it increases, potentially leading to severe health issues or even fatality.

So, here's the bottom line:
1. You should aim for zero parts per million on any carbon monoxide detector you have, whether it's a wall-mounted unit or a handheld device used for ambient or indoor measurements.

2. Many detectors have an alarm threshold of 70 parts per million over 60 minutes. To put it into perspective, this level exceeds the safety limits set by OSHA (Occupational Safety and Health Administration), which is 50 parts per million, and it's even higher than California's guidelines at 35 parts per million. Different governments, associations, and states have varying thresholds depending on the specific situation.

In summary, zero parts per million is what you're striving for. Anything above zero is a major concern that must be addressed promptly. You need to identify the source and take steps to reduce it to zero. This is my professional advice, and I hope it helps keep you all safe. See you soon.

Why is my Carbon Monoxide Detector Beeping?

First and foremost, the most obvious trigger is carbon monoxide gas itself. If you have ruled that out, and suspect a false alarm, then there are a few other potential false positive CO detector culprits:

1. High Humidity: If your CO detector is located near a bathroom or inside one where steam and high humidity are generated, it can lead to false alarms.

2. Hydrogen Gas: Hydrogen gas can also set off your carbon monoxide detector. These detectors use electrochemical sensors similar to those used for carbon monoxide. So, if you have your detector in a battery room or are charging batteries in your garage, the emission of hydrogen gas can trigger it.

3. Malfunction: Sometimes, CO detectors malfunction. When they do, they often beep or chirp. Refer to your model's manual to understand the specific beeping patterns, which can indicate the need for battery replacement, errors, or even that the unit has reached the end of its lifespan and should be replaced.



These are the key reasons why your carbon monoxide detector might be alarming, false alarming or making unusual sounds.

Where Shall I Place my Carbon Monoxide Detector?

The primary danger of carbon monoxide to humans occurs when sleeping. A typical deadly situation occurs when a compromised furnace is running, a car has been left on, or there's a continuous carbon monoxide source emitting this deadly gas for hours upon hours. Since people are often asleep for lengthy periods of time, there's a high likelihood of inhaling carbon monoxide over many hours and passing. 



So that means you need a carbon monoxide detector in your bedroom, plain and simple. If possible, I highly recommend having a carbon monoxide detector in every bedroom where people sleep.

Additionally, it's helpful to monitor the battery level indicator to replace batteries when needed. Avoid placing the detector low to the ground, as it might get kicked or bumped by pets or children. It's best to position it between 4 to 6 feet above the ground, making it easy to access for battery changes. Don't hide it behind drapes or furniture, and keep it away from windows. Placing it near a window can introduce fresh air, but the rest of the room might still have elevated carbon monoxide levels, giving you an inaccurate reading

Does Carbon Monoxide Settle to the floor or Rise to the Ceiling?

Now, let's address the common misconception about carbon monoxide. Some believe that it rises or falls, but in reality, carbon monoxide has nearly the same density as air, so it mixes evenly with it. Numerous scientific publications demonstrate that carbon monoxide evenly distributes in a sealed container, neither rising nor falling. Therefore, the key is to ensure you can easily see the digital display on your detector. It's there for a reason - to provide visibility from various locations in your home.

About The Author

Dr. Kos Galatsis ("Dr.Koz") is the President of FORENSICS DETECTORS where the company operates from the scenic Palos Verdes Peninsula in Los Angeles, California. He is a subject matter expert on gas sensor technology, gas detectors, gas meters, and gas analyzers. He has been designing, building, manufacturing, and testing toxic gas detection systems for over 20 years.

gas detector expert

Every day is a blessing for Dr. Koz. He loves to help customers solve their unique problems. Dr. Koz also loves spending time with his wife and his three children going to the beach, grilling burgers and having a cold beer. 

Read more about Forensics Detectors here.

Email:  drkoz@forensicsdetectors.com
Phone: +1 424-341-3886


Tags