Carbon Monoxide Detectors


A carbon monoxide detector or CO detector is a device that detects the presence of the carbon monoxide (CO) in order to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. CO is a colorless and odorless compound produced by incomplete combustion that is lethal at high concentrations. If a high concentration of CO is detected, the device sounds an alarm, giving people in the area a chance to ventilate the area or safely leave the building.

CO detectors do not serve as smoke detectors and vice versa. However, dual smoke/CO detectors are also sold. Smoke detectors detect the smoke generated by flaming or smoldering fires, whereas CO detectors can alarm people about faulty fuel burning devices. Carbon monoxide is produced from incomplete combustion. In the home CO can be formed, for example by open flames, space heaters, water heaters, blocked chimneys or running a car inside a garage.


New and existing buildings: one and two family dwellings (townhouses), and building owned as condominium and containing dwelling accommodations. A carbon monoxide alarm shall be installed in each of the following locations:

1. Within each dwelling unit or sleeping unit, on each story having a sleeping area.

2. Within each dwelling unit or sleeping unit, on each story where a carbon monoxide source is located.


CO detectors can be placed near the ceiling or near the floor as CO is very close to the same density as air.

Since CO is colorless, tasteless and odorless (unlike smoke from a fire), detection in a home environment is impossible without such a warning device. It is a highly toxic inhalant and attracts to the hemoglobin (in the blood stream) 200x faster than oxygen, producing inadequate amounts of oxygen traveling through the body.