The fear of carbon monoxide leaks at home has made people ask how many carbon monoxide detectors are needed to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning in the house.
The number of carbon monoxide detectors you need depends on how big your house is. Therefore, you need at least one carbon monoxide detector installed on every floor of your house, including the basement and the garage, near the sleeping quarters, and the heater.
Table of Contents
What is a Carbon Monoxide Detector?
A carbon monoxide detector is a device that detects the presence of carbon monoxide gas in the house to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. It is a device that is specially made to alert its users once it detects the presence of carbon monoxide in the house.
The idea of carbon monoxide detectors is to save lives. Many people die annually as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning in the house. And most of these people who died are not to blame.
Most of them were not aware of the presence of carbon monoxide in the house, yet end up dying because of it. That is why carbon monoxide is called a silent killer.
However, when you purchase any carbon monoxide detector, you are mandated to read the manual that comes with the device.
Ensure to read the brand detector manual from beginning to end to get more information on how to use it, strategic places to install it, and how many feet it needs to be between your wall, floor, and ceiling.
How Many Carbon Monoxide Detectors Do I Need?
There is no specific number of carbon monoxide needed for your house. It all depends on how big your home is. However, you are mandated to ensure that every floor of your house has at least one carbon monoxide detector installed on it. The same goes for basements and garages as well as sleeping quarters and near the house heater.
Factors that Determine the Number of CO Detectors Needed in a Home
The factors that determine the number of carbon monoxide detectors you should have in your home are:
1. The Size of your House
As reiterated earlier, the size of your house determines the number of carbon monoxide detectors you should buy. A homeowner whose house is a mansion will definitely need more carbon monoxide detectors than a person who owns a 4-bedroom shipping container home. That is just a fact.
For example, while one may need 6 to 10 pieces of carbon monoxide detectors, others may need more depending on the size of the house. Therefore, telling you that the number of carbon monoxide detectors you need in your home is 6 is doing you a disservice.
What if you have a mansion that is large? That means, 6 carbon monoxide detectors will not be enough. Therefore, ask yourself, how big is my house? Then you will get an idea of the number of carbon monoxide detectors you need to purchase.
2. The Strategic Places to Install The Detectors
Another factor that determines the number of carbon monoxide detectors you need for your home is the places they will be installed. As I said earlier, carbon monoxide detectors must be installed on every floor of your home. It’s a must. If you have four floors, that means, you need four carbon monoxide detectors for the four floors.
However, that is not the end of it. You also need to install the carbon monoxide detectors in your basement as well as your garage. Installing a carbon monoxide detector in the garage is a very good idea for those that use their garage as a workshop.
Whether the garage is attached to the house or not, you are advised to install at least one carbon monoxide detector within 10 feet of your garage. Some people may tell you not to install a carbon monoxide detector in your garage if the garage is not attached to your house. Well, that’s not good advice.
A garage is a place where we park cars. Some people also use their garage as a workshop. Imagine trying to carry your car out and it refuses to start and you decide to work on it inside the garage.
What if while working on the car and it happened that there is a carbon monoxide leak from your garage propane heater? How will you know? You will not know simply because someone told you not to install a detector in the garage because it’s not attached to your house.
Remember that carbon monoxide takes little time before it becomes fatal. The worse part of it that prompted people to call it a silent killer is that, you won’t know that you have already been poisoned by a carbon monoxide gas leaking either from your car exhaust pipe or from the propane heater installed in your garage.
To be on the safer side, it is better to install one in your garage. The same goes for the basement and near the sleeping quarters as well.
Take note of all the strategic places that are suitable to install the device and buy carbon monoxide detectors for each of these strategic places.
The reason why you are told to install a carbon monoxide detector near the heater but not too close is to pick up any form of carbon monoxide gas from the heater. The detector will be quick to pick it up, alerting you to take immediate action before it becomes fatal. If you install it too close, it may give you a false detection.
Nevertheless, while installing your carbon monoxide detectors in these strategic places, do not let them near any gas or fossil fuel area to avoid getting false carbon monoxide detection.
Imagine getting the detection in the middle of the night while everyone was asleep and after you have managed to wake everyone up and evacuate them outside, only to discover it was a false detection simply because you installed it too close to the gas or fossil fuel area. Trust me, it won’t be a pleasant experience at all.
The strategic places to install carbon monoxide detector doesn’t include humid areas such as the bathroom. It is also not good to install it close to direct sunlight to avoid overheating.
While installing it in these strategic places, ensure it is installed far from the reach of your children to avoid damaging the detector in your absence. This can be very fatal as the detector cannot work if it is damaged and if you are not aware that your kid has damaged the detector, you and your family will end up exposing yourselves to carbon monoxide.
Don’t install it behind doors, cabinets, curtains, or near window areas to avoid detecting dust from these places. It will be a false detection if it happens.
Importance of Carbon Monoxide Detectors in a Home
The number one importance of carbon monoxide detectors in a home is to save a life. Human lives are important and it will be a pity to lose a life because of carbon monoxide leakage in the house.
Initially, I didn’t take carbon monoxide awareness seriously because I had never experienced something like that. I can’t even imagine it happening. It wasn’t until carbon monoxide from a generator set killed a man whom I know so much and his three friends while they were fast asleep in the night that changed my conceptions about this deadly gas. The incident made me believe that carbon monoxide is indeed a silent killer.
Therefore, don’t wait until it happens to you or happens to someone you know before you can take action. Buy as many carbon monoxide detectors as you can buy and install them in your house.
These detectors cannot stop carbon monoxide gas from leaking into your house nor can they eradicate carbon monoxide from your house. However, it will alert you once it perceives the presence of carbon monoxide in the house so you can take immediate action.
Another important reason why carbon monoxide detectors are important in every home is because of the fact that carbon monoxide is odorless. This deadly gas does not have any smell at all. So, there is no way to know that you are already exposed to the gas except through the detectors.
Now, imagine not having any single detector in your home and it happened to be a carbon monoxide leak, how are you going to know? You will know because you can’t perceive it like when an electric socket is burning, you can’t able to detect CO by its smell.
As you cannot detect the presence of carbon monoxide in your home, it will continue to get into you until it leads to either carbon monoxide poisoning or death. That is why the man and his three friends died while sleeping.
Imagine if he had installed a carbon monoxide detector in his house. The detector would have signaled the presence of the gas in the house. At least, one of them would hear the sound and do something about it. They would have been alive today.
What to Do When the Carbon Monoxide Detectors Alerts
- The first thing you should do once your carbon monoxide detector notifies you of the presence of carbon monoxide in the house is to quickly turn off any appliances that produce carbon monoxide such as the house central heating system, propane heater, propane stove, etc.
- The next thing you should do is to evacuate everyone outside the house as soon as possible. Make sure that no one is left behind inside the house. If it happens in the night. Wake everyone up and let them go outside.
- Now, open all the windows in the house, especially the windows and doors near the carbon monoxide detector that alerted you of the gas leak in your house. The essence of opening the window is to stop carbon monoxide poisoning and to allow fresh air inside the house because you need enough ventilation to stop carbon monoxide poisoning.
The number of carbon monoxide detectors you need solely depends on the size of your home and the number of places to install them. You need as many carbon monoxide detectors as you can get to install in every strategic place in your house. Install them at least 15 to 20 feet from gas-powered home equipment such as stoves, heaters, dryers, furnaces, etc. Ensure the battery is running and test the detector every now and then to ensure it is still working.